Mindfulness: Being in the Moment

Psychologist Jay Dixit says, “we live in a world of distraction” and too often “we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about the past.” Practicing “mindfulness” is a way to reduce stress and lead a more satisfying life.  Mindfulness means intentionally focusing on the present, experiencing the moment as it is without judgment.

Achieving a state of mindfulness takes some practice, but is worth the effort.  Studies show mindfulness has a host of health benefits, including: reducing stress, boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart disease, substance abuse and mental illness.  People feel happier, more secure, and are more accepting of themselves. Mindfulness helps people feel more connected to others, more accepting of differences, less aggressive, and more in control.   To “live mindfully”, Dixit offers these suggestions:

  • Don’t think too hard.  Focus less on what is going on in your mind and more on what is going around you- see yourself as part of something “bigger”.
  • Savor the present.  Don’t worry about the future or dwell on the past- experience what is happening right now and use all 5 senses to get the full effect.
  • Breathe.  Simple breathing can increase the time between emotional impulse and action so you can respond thoughtfully.
  • Lose track of time.  Experience what you are doing now instead of waiting for what will happen. Learn to “flow” from one moment to the next.
  • Accept feelings - it’s ok to feel the way you feel in this moment. Don’t avoid what is unpleasant or difficult. Accepting the feeling does not dictate what you do next.
  • Try to see the familiar with fresh eyes. When we think we already know, we don’t pay attention. Life passes by without registering- Ellen Langer calls this “mindlessness”.

Lastly, “Don’t do something- Just sit there.”  A Buddhist monk describes mindfulness perfectly in this caption from a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine -“Nothing happens next. This is it.” 

(Adapted from :