“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
Hamlet, Act II
We all have experienced stress at some point in our lives. Stress from work, from school, from our personal life, welcome to the real world! Everyone manages stress differently. Many are willing to work on it and others are not interested in looking deeper into solutions to ease the problems. Many self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, be it prescription or otherwise, while others think that relaxation techniques require too much time and effort. When I first watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts, I didn’t have any knowledge of mindfulness or meditation but judging from the movie, I was not particularly interested in learning more. It seemed like concentration was a difficult thing to accomplish for even one minute. With that mentality, I became totally disengaged from the idea of looking further into relaxation techniques.
If you have not watched the movie, here is a video of the scene I mentioned. Do you share my thoughts?
I got divorced in my twenties and it felt like my life was over. I remember a good friend told me that living in the past is depression and living in the future is anxiety. Hmm. I needed to find the magic point of equilibrium between these two monsters and that is when I discovered mindfulness. So, what exactly is mindfulness? In my own words, I believe mindfulness is right here, right now. As simple as living in the moment and being in charge of your thoughts. To my surprise just being in the moment helped me reduce my fears and stress by simply enjoying and taking advantage of the present, which after all, is all we have and all we have some control over. I decided to watch “Eat, Pray, Love” movie again with more clarity and that’s when an important dialogue caught my attention. When Julia Robert’s character was not able to concentrate, her friend told her, “You have to learn to select your thoughts, the same way you select your clothes every day, now that’s a power you can cultivate.”
With that in mind, I decided to do an experiment. I grew up surrounded by people, my parents, siblings and relatives were always around. I had never dined in a restaurant alone and in my country, that is something that is not common, as a matter of fact, it seems a bit unusual and weird to us. So, in the middle of my sadness, I decided to go for lunch by myself, what a better way to practice mindfulness. I remember, I sat down, ordered my lunch and just concentrated on the food. I had never experienced the intense smells, the colors, textures, flavors and the great satisfaction I felt just because I was living my life in the moment, without thinking or worrying about anything, just my lunch. I learned then those little things, like being fully in the moment will indeed give us big pleasure on the horizon of our lives.
The first book I read about mindfulness, “The Little Book of Mindfulness” by Patricia Collard, is a great little book that explains the main tools, concepts, and practices to start your journey with mindfulness. If you follow the book you need to dedicate at least 5 to 10 minutes a day to learn little by little how to start managing stress and anxiety and finding your pathway to happiness, joy and better living. It starts with you and how you look at life. Just like they stated in the movie “if you can’t master your thoughts, you are in trouble forever. Do you practice mindfulness? I would love to hear any comments about your experiences.