“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
It sounds pretty easy, right? People always used to tell me to live in the moment and relax, but quite honestly it’s easier said than done. The fact that every moment is fleeting, having to concentrate on every single one always seemed like a waste of time to me. Why should I focus on the present when the present moment passes by in an instant? I would have rather thought about what to make for dinner, how to plan out my schedule when to get drunk as hell and not remember anything the next day.
Yes, you read that correctly. I used to be an alcoholic and a pretty heavy one at that. I was impulsive, reacting at a moment’s notice (usually in an obnoxious way), always talking over people, and assuming the worst of every situation. To sum up, I wasn’t a fun person to be around. That somewhat fueled my descent into alcoholism.
After a long and obstacle-ridden rehab session that resembled a rollercoaster of emotions, I’ve been sober for 6 years. I’m talking about a seemingly endless amount of therapy, counseling, and group meetings. On top of that, the icing on the cake came in the form of the number of tears I cried trying to get my life back on track.
The meaning of on track may vary for everyone. For example, my life started getting on the right track right after I stopped drinking. However, what I learned through my recovery is understanding the art of mindfulness. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it can be described as “the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”
In other words, I left behind my anxious self and started embracing the moment I was living in. The angry and impulsive person I used to be when I drank turned into a calm, collected person. Only after I started putting the methods into practice did I realize how much it had been lacking in my life.
Having said that, it’s not necessary to hit rock bottom like I did before realizing that mindfulness could be of major benefit in your life. You don’t need to have the extra equipment or anything of the sort. However, one necessity is time. Before you start shaking your head and saying you’re too busy, I’m only talking about a few minutes per day. Take away from the usual activities that aren’t productive and set aside a few moments to learn the practice.
Every day there are more and more people taking on the task of learning mindfulness. In fact, so many have taken it up that there is research to suggest that mindfulness can actually alter the physical structure of your brain, by engaging parts of the brain not used when we are running around on some kind of autopilot (what most people think of as “everyday life”). In our day and age, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and sales and technology that sometimes we forget to take a step back and breathe, getting away from the chaos of it all.
This article is aimed directly at those wishing to start their journey towards living a mindful life, providing you with 5 simple steps to do so.