Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Bringing Awareness to Life

Two very common issues I frequently see in my practice are people feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and / or people who feel uninspired and bored with their lives. I read a quote the other day, “Boredom is a matter of choice, not circumstance.” This may seem a radical notion, that we choose to be bored or choose to be uninspired, or choose to be overwhelmed and stressed…..now you may be either intrigued or fighting the desire to make a paper airplane out of it. Hopefully, I still have your attention so that we can consider this freedom of choice.

Most of us spend our days doing our usual tasks with a constant stream of thoughts running through our heads, like the cascade of a waterfall…a little noisy but we get used to this. The unfortunate consequence is that we are not able to be present to our daily circumstances which zaps our energy and prevents us from bringing our full attention and potential to these tasks. The result is doing many things in a less than satisfactory way, and cheats us of the joy of doing a job well or attending to our conversations with family and friends with honest presence. We all have the experience of speaking with someone close to us and then realizing that we have no idea what they have just said because we are thinking about dinner or worrying about a report for work. Here again, we have cheated ourselves from enjoying the true intimacy of a conversation with our loved ones. So, how is this related to a matter of choice?

We have the ability to bring more authentic presence to our daily tasks and our relationships, which is a choice we can make. The challenge is to bring awareness to our lives and actively make choices on how we spend our time and who we choose to spend it with. When stressed, take a moment to check in with the content of the chatter in our heads – what is it that we need to focus on? Chose to bring attention and awareness to this, and harness the ability to speak and act more effectively. Notice how much more effective this strategy is and actively reduce the addiction to internal multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is highly ineffective and robs us of the absorption in a task that produces more skillful outcomes and self fulfillment from a job well done.

The next time you are with someone who is very special to you, really be with them, be fully present and see them as if for the first time. When you share time with your family and friends allow yourself to receive the support and nurturance of these relationships, and appreciate your ability to support them in turn. Allow yourself to be truly intimate with each day of your life and notice the ability we have to enrich these moments, when we choose.



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