As much as many of us choose to overlook it, there is a lot wrong with the way most of us currently live our lives. We evolved in an environment completely foreign to the world we live in now and adapted to gain abilities and traits that in many ways leave us unsuited for our current environment.
We sit in chairs all day long gaining weight, we eat processed foods and we face constant stresses from work, from our relationships and from our finances.
What’s more, we are constantly in demand and constantly ‘plugged in’ and ‘stressed out’. Our phones are always ringing, texts are always coming in, we get a new e-mail every two minutes… And even when most of us aren’t working or being bothered, we have a near addiction to technology that means we’re still unable to really decompress. Is it any wonder that mental health problems are so rife?
(art by Aaron Blanco Tejedor)
Using Mindfulness to Escape Modern Stress
This is probably a big part of the reason that mindfulness is so popular right now. Mindfulness simply means directing attention in a purposeful manner. Sometimes this will mean focusing on our thoughts (in an objective and non-judgemental way) but in other cases it will mean simply being more present and focusing on our breathing and our environments.
(photo by Brett Jordan)
Either way, the idea of mindfulness is to enjoy a calmness and to stop the incessant chatter of our minds. When you are completely engaged with the world around you, or when you decide to disengage with your thoughts, it provides you with relief from stress and from fear – and instead allows you to simply relax and recover.
Mindfulness for Concentration
What’s more, practicing mindfulness is also the perfect tool for improving concentration. Mindfulness forces you to develop a ‘mental discipline’ that is sorely lacking for many of us today. Too often, most of us have 20 (or MORE) things vying for our attention. While we have allegedly become better at multitasking as a result, we’ve also become much worse at focusing on one thing for extended periods. This makes it harder for us to read a large passage of text for instance, or to work without feeling the need to continuously check Facebooks, the Snapgrams, the Instachats, and the rest of the time suckers.
Again, I really think that mindfulness is the perfect tonic. Here, you are tasked with focusing on your breathing, your environment, your thoughts or your feelings for an extended period of time. And as such, you improve your own focus and mental discipline.
BTW: I’m not a sponsor or anything for THIS website (below), but it helped me figure some of this out and get on the right path four years ago.
Good luck to you all. I know life throws a lot at us, but engaging the world with the right frame of mind helps to smooth out some of life’s wrinkles.