Mindfulness – The Life Skill we should start early
What is this life if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare…
The above words of Welsh poet WH Davies in 1911 definitely bore a prophecy for the times to come.
Life seems to have taken over, well life! We seem to be racing against time to achieve, to accumulate, to compare, to display.
Technology was developed to make life convenient and comfortable; little did we know that we would become slaves to Facebook likes and Instagram followers. The ping of a new message, the flashing envelope highlighting a new email – these are the new tell-tale signs of stress.
This stress has made us further value our “limited time.” Hence, we pass the burden of our stress onto GenNext – our children. Tiny tots today are walking around with a raised finger – not to ask questions but to swipe the nearest available interactive screen!
Is this what we want our next generation to inherit? How is the next generation going to turnout looking at a life that has no pause. Pause to enjoy the moment, pause to wonder in awe at the beauty of nature.
Raise your hand if you have used the television/ tab or phone as a Nanny to babysit/ finish a meal with your child. Raise your hand if you have lost your temper at your toddler for throwing an ‘unwarranted’ tantrum. Raise your hand if you check your phone while eating a meal or spending time with your family.
In one of our workshops, while working on the happiness pie we asked a young child what gave him happiness. His response with a goofy, toothless grin was “When my parents sit down and talk to me softly.”
Our interactive workshops have taught us this invaluable lesson. The one intangible that children yearn for the most is spending quality time with their parents and basking in their undivided love & attention.
The harsh reality is this – there is no Application/software or OS that can be downloaded to provide the above. There is no right formula for how to connect with children and fellow members of society.
Many of us think that mindfulness is limited to meditation. While that thought is definitely down the right path, that road is however wider. Mindfulness is that state of mind when you are one with the present moment.
As per Thich Nhat Hanh, Mindfulness is an energy that we can generate for ourselves. Every individual has the capacity to be mindful. Mindfulness helps us recognise what is going on in the present moment. Mindfulness is as an essential skill for life and not a temporary hobby to pass time.
Some food for thought to get your thoughts churning
- Practice Mindfulness mediations: Daily spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing and experiencing the present moment. Present moment is the real moment. This will unclutter your mind, relieve stress and help release happy pheromones.
- Be aware of your emotions:The human mind has a plethora of emotions that go beyond mere happiness, sadness & anger. Mindfulness can enable you to recognise the emoji of the moment, acknowledge it and understand it instead of merely allowing it to take over your thought process.
- Self awareness: Practicing mindfulness leads to higher awareness of self, not just emotionally but also physically. We start listening to what our body speaks, we begin to understand our own patterns. Mindfulness develops higher awareness of our senses (sight, feel, touch, hear, smell).
- Increase focus and attention: Mindfulness increases an awareness of what you are doing. Whether you are studying or playing, you are able to focus completely on the job at hand.
- Higher acceptance: Self awareness leads to high acceptance of self as well as others. When we are comfortable with ourselves, we begin to accept people the way they are, without being judgemental. Understanding your own thoughts, emotions, and habits are important foundations to understanding others. When you are mindful you can avoid conflicts because you are in complete acceptance of differences.
- Higher empathy: Acceptance leads to higher empathy and consideration for people and communities. Hence overall happiness.
by: Anshu Daga, Founder, The Inner Startup