I mentioned in a post recently that we tend to rush our way through life, moving from one big milestone to the next, never able to enjoy the moment and missing out on our current situation because of always looking forward toward the next thing. This is particularly true when going through school and when your time is divided and accounted for, at least it was for me. Now that I’m finished school, I now realise that the same can be true of missing out by falling into a routine and missing out on the joys and beauty of life because of the mundane of the day to day. I don’t ever want to live life that way. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and I want to love every minute of it. So, in my efforts to not let myself fall into routine and just trudge my way through life without actually living and experience it, I came across this concept of mindful living that I thought would be nice to share with all of you.
What is Mindful Living?
Have you ever fallen into the habit of doing the same thing every day, like your commute to work let’s say, and you go through the motions, but when you get to where you are going, you aren’t fully conscious of how you got there and what really happened in between? It’s kind of like when you put a car on cruise control or a plane on autopilot, you eventually arrive at a destination, but you weren’t really actively engaged. This is the way a lot of us live our lives, perhaps even more so with our overly-engaged mobile lives that actually disengage us from everything else around us. It is wonderful that we have access to everything at the tips of our fingers and on the go; a convenience which has integrated itself so completely into our lives, causing marketers and web designers to take a “mobile first” approach to their work, as “mobile search queries outnumbered traditional desktop searches” in 2015, according to this article. This mobile technology can better connect us to each other and a lot of other things, but there is something to be said about spending our lives either staring at a screen or merely going through the motions in our daily lives and missing out on a whole bunch of little wonders all around us.
Mindful living is a purposeful mindset to engage in life and be a conscious participant in every experience. It means taking time to stop and smell the roses, to watch a balloon floating higher in the air, to experience a sunset, or to listen to a bird sing. It is about experiencing gratitude and appreciation for all of the beautiful things around us that we could otherwise completely overlook. And as new research from Rutgers University psychology professor Nancy Fagley shows, practicing gratitude and appreciation leads to higher levels of life satisfaction. This is because slowing down to savour the good parts of life give life more meaning and joy. Life in the grand scheme of things, or this bigger picture, is at the end of the day a culmination of one small moment or experience at a time; mindful living is living every single experience to the fullest.
I think that we tend to rush through life, looking forward to the next thing because we are convinced that that other thing is the “good stuff” in life. All the while, the good stuff is right here and right now, and if we don’t take the time to appreciate it, we will miss it, and we will miss out on our lives. If you think about it, today, right now, in this very second, this is the only time you really have. The past is gone and the future is always just out of reach, so we should value every present second for the gift that it is, because when it’s gone, that’s it, we don’t get any of those seconds back.