This series of articles in July has concentrated on mindfulness and meditation and how they can enhance your life. For instance, we’ve learned that you can practice mindfulness anywhere at any time, and meditation can calm you and make you more aware.
This final article will focus on the pros and cons of practicing mindfulness and meditation and how to live in the present.
Living in the Now
Where am I? What are you doing? Who are the people in your life?
That is the first question to ask yourself to see if you need to practice mindfulness and meditation. Are you living today, or are you stuck only concentrating on the past? Many who live with complex post-traumatic stress disorder find they are stuck in what happened or what may happen in the future and completely miss out on today.
People who have survived childhood trauma often find themselves in a constant state of stress because memories bombard them and worry. Learning how to live in the moment means you take the time to appreciate what you are doing, where you are, and who are the people in your life. You must learn how to live in the moment instead of becoming caught up in the worry of tomorrow or the things that happened in the past.
It is time to concentrate on the now, in the moment, and savor each moment you live in as it passes. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn’t here yet, we only have now.
The Pros of Living a Meditative and Mindful Life
While many are skeptical of practicing meditation and mindfulness, those who do notice many benefits. Let’s have a look at the pros of meditation and mindfulness.
- Increased concentration and focus.
- Overall improved mood.
- Reduces stress.
- Enhanced memory.
- Causes improvement in listening skills.
- An increased ability to distinguish what is essential to their life.
- Better relationships.
- Improved ability to let go.
By engaging fully in your life, you will experience more joy and happiness as you allow life to unfold as it will instead of you attempting to force it to be what you want. That may sound counterproductive, but the thought that you have complete control over your life is an illusion. No one can control what the future brings.
That being said, you can make provisions for the future, but there is no guarantee you will live past today.
Can you see it? We are, but mortal creatures who must live in a sea of uncertainty, and mindfulness and meditation allow us to control our worrying because right now, in this moment, things are okay. If they are not okay in this moment, mindfulness and meditation can help you to get and remain grounded as you work through whatever it is you are suffering in the now.
The Cons of Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation practices are suitable for the majority of those who practice it. However, 37% of those who have tried mindfulness and meditation have negatively impacted their daily functioning, with 6% of participants experiencing lasting adverse effects for over a month.
One possible negative effect of meditation is that harmful and distressing memories may surface, accompanied by the emotions that surround the event. Another con is that meditation and mindfulness can cause some people to experience damage to their sense of self.
Other adverse experiences from mindful meditation are below:
- Meditation can promote negative thinking.
- Meditation can interrupt your sensory perceptions of the world around you.
- Some people lose their motivation.
- Mindfulness experiences can make one disregard their gut instincts.
- Meditation can dysregulate one’s sleep/wake cycle by causing energy problems.
It is vital to remember that the people who experience adverse effects from mindfulness and meditation are a small sample of those who find it helpful.
How to Live in the Present
This series discusses the ins and outs of mindfulness and meditation. Now let’s explore ways to help you learn to live in the present. There must be thousands of things one can do to increase their living in the now. Below are some of these ideas.
Change your focus. When learning to live in the now, it is critical to focus on a single thing, not everything at once. Despite popular belief, no one can multitask, juggling many tasks to try to get ahead. Our human brains do not work that way. It is impossible to live in the moment if you are distracted like that.
Notice what is around you. If you are not fully aware of what is around you, you cannot remain in the moment. When you stop to look at the stars, the flowers, or your kids, it is easier to be present in the moment. Try this method to live in the moment right now.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath, then open your eyes and take a hard look at where you are located. How do the walls look? What patterns do you see in the floors, walls, and shadows cast through a window?
Practice being accepting. To live in the now, one must learn to let go of the things you have no control over and accept them for what they are. You cannot control everything that happens to you, nor can you control other people. All you can do is practice acceptance of what you cannot change.
Seek out social support. Finding positive and caring social support plays a vital role in helping you to learn to live in the now. Seek out others who are supportive and positive in their attitudes because it is much easier than being present alone. Surrounding yourself with people who cause you to feel positive and happy will enhance your focus on the now by making it easier.
Ending Our Time Together
For many, living in the present moment seems impossible as they are inundated with responsibilities to work, their kids, and their partners. However, taking the time to practice mindfulness and meditation can aid you in caring for those you love by making you calmer and more pliable to others’ needs and ideas.
Take time to appreciate where you are, who is with you, and what you are doing instead of being caught up in worrying about the past or the future. You only live once, and the next moment will never return again, so that means you must learn to enjoy and savor each moment as it passes.
If you find yourself overwhelmed or having memories return that is unpleasant, you might need to explore them more in-depth with the help of a therapist. They can teach you techniques and tools you may find that make your journey easier.
“The journey is never-ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.” – Antonio Brown.
“Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how long it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin.
My name is Shirley Davis and I am a freelance writer with over 40-years- experience writing short stories and poetry. Living as I do among the corn and bean fields of Illinois (USA), working from home using the Internet has become the best way to communicate with the world. My interests are wide and varied. I love any kind of science and read several research papers per week to satisfy my curiosity. I have earned an Associate Degree in Psychology and enjoy writing books on the subjects that most interest me.