In today's fast-paced world, we seem to always be looking to the future. Planning for the next day, next month, even the next year. Constantly juggling responsibilities can be exhausting and stressful. Thankfully, relieving that stress is doable without sacrificing tons of time by practicing mindful thinking.
Mindfulness is a state of awareness in which one able to acknowledge their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in the present moment without judgment.
With stress and anxiety, it’s easy to get caught up in the constant “what if” cycle. Fearful anticipation of the future or regrets about past occurrences begin, and can quickly snowball into all-consuming thoughts, making it difficult to be in the present moment and enjoy life as it is now. The concept of mindful thinking is designed to alleviate this stress, encouraging one to allow thoughts and feelings to occur without passing judgment. Becoming an active participant in the present moment of one’s allows for a happier, more fulfilling life experience.
There are hundreds of techniques that can be used to root oneself in the present moment. Known as grounding techniques, these methods rely on various mediation or sensation-based experience “check-ins” that help one to focus on the present moment.
My personal favorite grounding technique is sensation based. Starting with my toes, I slowly work my way up my body and focus on the physical feeling of each part of my body. Noticing if I can feel my boot, if my muscles are sore, if I can feel the wind on my face, etc. Once I’ve taken stock of that, I move on to the other senses, noticing what I see and hear. For me, this is the easiest way to become fully immersed in and aware of the present moment.
There's a wide variety of free online resources and thousands of books devoted to practicing mindfulness. If you’d like to learn more, I recommend reading The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. This offers a good overview of mindfulness, while this page offers 22 different mindfulness techniques you can try.