Mindfulness, doing things with our full attention, has been the study of many scientific studies demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing anxiety, aggressiveness, depression, forgetfulness, etc…. It seems a timely antidote to our stressful multitasking approach to life and many of us are drawn to it here during Yoga, Tai chi, and, of course, while surfing or bodysurfing.
I like to call it heartful attention as one easy way I found to be fully present, thus calming my mind and feeling really good, is to gently bring my attention to the heart area first, maybe even putting my hand there, entoning a long low ‘ahhhh’ sound, or thinking of a loved one, with a smile on. Try it with me now if you’d like……and from that lovely space, look around and notice the instant difference in your attitude and feelings.
Another suggestion is to connect with your heart area before and during eating, and bring the food caringly to your mouth, sensing all its delightful effect on your taste buds – a great way to nourish and nurture yourself! This kind of heartful attention can include even mental tasks, at least for a few moments while breathing more deeply and relaxing your shoulders – heart pauses instead of coffee breaks? Moreover, the recurrent feelings that claim our attention through tight, contracted places in the throat, chest, or abdomen, can receive the same heartful attention at times, with our hands on them.
The good news is that you don’t have to be interested in psychology, religion or spirituality to practice heartful presence – a willingness to feel at ease and a beating heart are the only requirements!