The Challenge of Imbalance There seems to be two options for the mind: always moving and staying too still. The former is characterized by planning each moment, high energy, and a craving for free time. The latter is home to boredom, anxious thoughts, and indecision. The grass always seems to be greener. Whenever we are bored we wish we were busy, and when we can't catch a moment to breathe, quiet is all that we want. Practicing mindfulness in everyday life can help to find a balance between the positive attributes of both of these poles. Through mindfulness the mind works for a balance of focus and relaxation.
The practical application of mindfulness in everyday tasks like walking, showering, listening etc. is a fantastic way to work out the mind. Exercising the mind can improve many outcomes: one of these is trust; both within yourself and with others. Trust is letting go, and giving away your concerns, with confidence you'll be alright. Trust is a neat outcome of mindfulness as it allows you to approach your thoughts with kindness. As you are mindfully taking on a task, thoughts whether they be positive, neutral, or negative may come up, and trust is that which allows you to let your thoughts go without judgment. Now whether you are sitting and doing a formal mindfulness meditation or simply practicing mindfulness in an everyday activity, you will experience this trust.
My favorite change that I have noticed since I have started practicing mindfulness, is a greater sense of awareness. This has allowed me the opportunity to pause and experience happiness, to truly experience life in the present moment, and to face thoughts head on with the confidence that they will pace. This can help you overcome negative body image thoughts, intrusive worries, and just plain annoying thoughts. Mindfulness helps you notice thoughts as they develop, see them with curiosity, and let them pass trusting they no longer serve you. The more you practice mindfulness, the greater your sense of awareness becomes, and this allows you to notice your thoughts sooner. At the beginning of my mindfulness journey, I would sit down to meditate and eventually realize I was making a to-do list for easily 10 minutes. Overtime, I noticed when my mind was drifting sooner and sooner. Awareness is key, and has allowed me the opportunity to let thoughts go before I give them too much attention.
Food for Thought
Thoughts can be challenging, and our minds can be so powerful and work against us if we do not work them out. In the same way that we must keep our bodies healthy, so too do our minds deserve exercise. Training the mind isn’t complicated, but it does take practice. A common meditation mantra is to inhale to “I trust” and to exhale to “I let go.” The next time you're having a challenging day, remember to trust.
Brooke Petit is a graduate of Providence College, where she studied Sociology and interned with three nonprofit organizations. She currently works in philanthropy and is interested in public policy, data analysis, social change and applied sociology. Brooke loves American handmade crafts, snail mail, and iced green tea. When not working her life is enjoyably filled with electro funk concerts and mindfulness meditation. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.