The Mindfulness Struggle

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We should be mindful. We should seek ways to achieve mindfulness. Mindfulness boosts health – both mentally and physically.

We read and hear this everywhere.

What isn’t always clear is that how much of a struggle it can be to be mindful.

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I always tell my nephew – who is, 90% of the time, totally oblivious to his surroundings – to be mindful. To look where he’s going. To check the couch before jumping on to it. I can go on all day and end up being frustrated at the seeming lack of change on his part.

Thanks to an unexpected experience, I have had a change in perspective and realized why he didn’t (doesn’t) seem to listen to me at all. It was like someone slapping me wide awake.

Being mindful isn’t easy!

You can’t just keep reading about mindfulness and expect to become mindful. Simply talking about mindfulness won’t get you far either.

My personal road to mindfulness started many years ago, and there have been times that I thought to myself, “I’ve got it!”

Looking back at the past few months, though, all I’ve got is what I call the “Mindfulness Struggle.”

It’s what happens in everyday life, when I am in my natural setting – at home, doing chores, buying groceries. I realize now I don’t pay much attention. My mind is just all over the place and sometimes, I even have no idea where it is.

Resource: Mindfulness Apps

Then there’s the other situation where my mind keeps going to places which don’t do me good. We all have those. We keep thinking of what we want which may not be good for us, or which may not be possible at all. We keep thinking about the past – the could haves, would haves, and should haves.

As a result, we get stuck in that thought loop, we feel bad emotionally, and we aren’t present in the moment. The classic “the body is present but the mind is elsewhere” scenario.

And all we have to show for it are negative emotions like melancholy and missing out on what’s right under our noses: life as it is happening.

So, what to do with “Mindfulness Struggle”?

Accept it for what it is: a struggle.

Mindfulness isn't all fluffy clouds and zen feelings. It can be a fight against what feels natural. Click To Tweet

Again, being mindful isn’t easy.  It will push you to go against what feels like the thing to do. It will push you to take control of what you’re thinking.

It is something you choose to do. You choose to think and focus on what’s in front of you (literally this computer screen for me right now) and nothing else. Your mind will go somewhere else, for sure. It may wander aimlessly. It may fixate on something else – a problem, a person, a thing, or a place – but you have to consciously, maybe forcibly, go back to what you are doing at the moment.

For some, it comes easily. For others, it may be slow going.

The past 48 hours for me have been particularly rough. I have had to stop my train of thought and guide it back to the present reality every 15 seconds or so. I am dead serious. It can be that hard.

The result is worth it, though: to live life in such a way that we experience each moment as much as we can and not just go walking around like zombies or with minds stuck in other worlds, missing out on the real one.

Being mindful can be such a struggle and this may even leave you feeling drained, but you’ll know you’re doing the right thing when you feel more appreciation for what you have and what you’re doing. And it will happen.

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