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Yet another busy year is coming to an end. And just how fast it went by! Did you stop and smell the roses, or were you mostly rushing through with your mind anywhere but the present moment?
If you feel like the past year went by like a jet plane, you might be doing something wrong. While technology is one of the greatest distractions, it can also help you live a better life. Here are three antidotes to help your bring your mind back from its wanderings to the here and now and to appreciate the present moment because it’s all we have.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as bringing one’s complete attention to the present moment, to be aware of oneself and one’s surrounding, and to experience and accept the here and now without judgement. Originally a buddhist practice, it has found its way into Western society and — following scientific scrutiny — has been used in clinical psychology and psychiatry since the 1970s. It is a very simple and powerful method to physically and mentally relax and increase well-being.
How Can I Be Mindful?
According to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness has seven key elements: being non-judgemental, patience, adopting a beginner’s mind, trust, being non-striving, acceptance, and non-attachment.
Practicing mindfulness means regularly remembering these elements and taking a few minutes to become mindful, especially in tense moments when you feel stressed and anxious. Then, after you have completed the practice, you let go of being mindful and continue with whatever you were doing. So in its essence, mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to change how you go about your day, it just means that you remember to stop and take in everything that is around you. And results will follow naturally.
How Can I Remember To Practice Mindfulness?
It’s easy to stop and smell the roses when everything is in order and you are feeling great. But how can you remember to be mindful when you most need it, when your mind is pre-occupied with your To Do list and your body is tense? Technology to the rescue!
The following apps can help you integrated mindfulness into your day.
You can set the Mindfulness Bell to ring from about every 5 minutes to about every 4 hours. It will ring within a preset time frame, for example between 9am and 8pm.
In its most basic form, the bell is a reminder to be mindful. If you wish, you can associate the ringing of the bell with a practice, such as remembering to drink water, do some stretching, or simply becoming fully aware of the present moment. In its essence, the tool is as simple as mindfulness itself.
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Each day, the app offers a challenge, something to be mindful or aware of. You can accept the challenge, then go about your day, while trying to incorporate it into your day. You can set custom alarms to be reminded of the challenge.
Once you have completed the challenge, you can make an entry into the app’s journal to keep track of your experiences and insights. Journal entries are shared with everyone who has completed a challenge and contributed a journal entry themselves.
The app is available for free. A supporter donation unlocks a home screen and a lock screen widget.
Enlighten is pure reminder app that can be set to run every set number of minutes or hours during a period of the day. The reminder then displays a custom awareness message, which you can make anything you want. The app becomes active when you click the Start button on the settings page. Alerts trigger a system default notification. Clicking the Stop button disables alerts.
Under the Practice tab, Enlighten offers a meditation timer.
How Are You Practicing Mindfulness?
With any luck, you won’t need an app for long to practice mindfulness.
How are you changing your life for the better? And how is technology helping you?
Image credits: Boardwalk via Shutterstock