Being Present and Grounded
Mindfulness, the art of staying present and grounded, is a powerful guide to self-love and deepening further our relationship with ourselves.
How often do we start our day feeling really good, feeling grounded and present with ourselves with good intentions for the day ahead… then BOOM! We suddenly get caught up in the whirlwind of work, family, and our daily business and all our peace and all those good intentions have all flown out of the window and completely forgotten. Yes, it’s so easy to lose touch with ourselves; too easy! Amid all those external pressures, our thoughts suddenly scatter in countless directions, often creating self-doubt, anxiety, overwhelm, and a completely distorted sense of our own self-worth. But what if the path to self-love wasn’t found in the big, wide world around us, but in your own inner space, in the here and now?
Mindfulness and Self-love
Mindfulness and self-love are intrinsically linked because:
- Self-awareness: Mindfulness can sharpen our inner awareness, helping us to recognize and understand our feelings, thoughts, and emotions more profound way.
- Reduction in Negative Self-talk: By being present with ourselves, we become more aware of our inner critic and we can challenge and reshape these thoughts.
- Acceptance of Imperfections: Mindfulness teaches us acceptance; acceptance of the moment, of our feelings, and, above all of ourselves, yes, flaws and all.
Mindfulness is a practice and way of being that emphasizes staying present, observing without judgment, and accepting our experiences as they come. Its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Buddhist traditions and other religions and philosophical systems. In recent decades, it has become extremely popular in the West.
As both a philosophy and a set of practices, mindfulness can bring us greater clarity, peace, and well-being in our everyday life. It is the psychological process of bringing our attention back to the present moment and focusing on what is happening right now, without any form of judgement. Instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, we learn to remain in the present moment; in the here and now.
Key Aspects of Mindfulness:
- Present Moment Awareness: Mindfulness emphasizes being fully engaged in the here and now. Instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness encourages you to be present in whatever you are doing, whether it’s eating, walking, or simply breathing.
- Non-judgmental Observation: Mindfulness involves observing your experiences in a neutral manner. It’s about noticing your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without labelling them as “good” or “bad.” For example, instead of getting upset because you are feeling anxious, simply acknowledge what you are feeling “I’m feeling anxious right now.” – just acknowledge it without any form of judgement.
- Acceptance: Central to mindfulness is the acceptance of things as they are now. This doesn’t mean being passive or complacent about things, on the contrary. It’s all about recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting your current feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without trying to change, suppress, ignore, or deny them in this moment.
- Cultivating Awareness: Mindfulness helps you to become more aware of your reactions to experiences. Over time, you might notice common patterns in your responses, such as certain triggers that lead you to feeling stressed, anxious or on the defensive. By becoming aware of these patterns, you can then choose how to respond, rather than constantly reacting on impulse.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
- Stress Reduction: Many studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can lead to significant reductions in stress and anxiety.
- Improved Focus: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, train the mind to concentrate and resist distraction, increasing our ability to focus on tasks.
- Better Emotional Regulation: By being aware of our emotions as they arise and viewing them without judgment, we can manage and process our feelings in a much better and loving way.
- Increased Empathy: Mindfulness cultivates self-compassion and a deeper understanding of ourselves, which in turn leads to increased understanding and compassion towards others.
- Enhanced Resilience: With regular practice you can find yourself better equipped to handle adversities in your life, bouncing back more quickly from challenges.
- Reduction in Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: Mindfulness practices, particularly Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), have been shown to be effective in preventing the recurrence of depression and in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress.
Steps to Practice Self-love Through Mindfulness
Let’s have a look at how we can practice Self-love through the practice of mindfulness.
1. Mindful Breathing: The breath is a natural, ever-present tool that we can consciously and constantly use to ground ourselves. Throughout the day, we can encounter various stressors that can lead us to a heightened state of anxiety. Mindful breathing is a quick way to connect and recentre ourselves.
Benefits: Regular practice can lead to better concentration, reduced anxiety levels, and a deeper sense of inner calm. By training our minds to return to our breath when it wanders, we can also develop greater focus in many other areas of our lives.
Exercise: Begin by focusing on your breath. Feel the air entering and leaving your nostrils and the rise and fall of your chest. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. This practice helps anchor you in the present and creates a space of calmness and self-reflection.
2. Body Scan Meditation: In today’s fast-paced world, it’s too easy to lose touch with our physical selves and forget to notice how our bodies are feeling and reacting.
Benefits: By directing our attention to different parts of our body, we become more attuned to what it needs right now. This can promote healthier habits, alleviate stored tension, and develop a more positive body image.
Exercise: Lie down and mentally scan your body from the top of head down to the tips of your toes. Be aware of any sensations, tensions, and relaxations within you without judgment. This practice promotes body awareness and appreciation, nurturing self-love.
3. Engage in Mindful Activities: Everyday tasks can very easily become robotic routines. By mindfully immersing ourselves in them, we can transform our daily mundane activities into moments of presence and awareness.
Benefits: This practice breaks the cycle of mindlessness, encouraging a more engaged and present life.
Exercise: Choose an everyday activity, like eating, walking, or even showering. Be present and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Feel the textures, taste the flavours, or hear the sounds. This practice helps you to ground yourself and stay more in tune with yourself.
4. Mindful Journaling: Journaling is an extremely powerful tool for introspection. By being aware of our feelings and writing about our experiences, we can identify both our positive and negative patterns.
Benefits: Doing this can lead us to better self-understanding, emotional processing, and even problem-solving, as seeing things in writing often provides us with more clarity.
Exercise: Every day, set aside time to journal about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Always approach this activity with a non-judgmental attitude, seeing it as a reflection rather than an analysis. Doing this, can provide valuable insights into your self-worth and areas of growth.
5. Practice Loving-kindness Meditation: At the core of many emotional struggles lies a need for love and acceptance. By radiating these feelings to ourselves and others, we cultivate a more compassionate view of the world.
Benefits: Regular practice can lead to reduced negative emotions, increased feelings of connectedness, and an overall sense of well-being.
Exercise: Direct feelings of love and warmth first to yourself, then expand these feelings outwards to your loved ones, acquaintances, and even those you may have conflicts with. This meditation cultivates feelings of compassion and love, always starting with self-love.
6. Stay Grounded with Mindful Reminders: In all the busyness of our daily life, it’s so easy to get lost in all our thoughts and tasks. Setting up regular reminders throughout the day ensures us that we take precious moments for ourselves to pause and return to the present even for a few moments.
Benefits: These pauses can significantly reduce stress, refresh our perspective, and allow us to approach tasks with a clearer mind.
Exercise: Set periodic reminders throughout the day to take a moment to consciously breathe, and centre yourself. This can be as simple as a phone reminder or a post-it on your workstation.
7. Engage in Mindful Listening: Modern communication often involves multitasking or constantly thinking ahead, which detracts from truly listening and understanding others.
Benefits: By listening mindfully, we cultivate deeper connections with the people around us, promote trust, and demonstrate our respect. As our listening skills improve, we also become better at listening to our own inner needs and feelings.
Exercise: When having a conversation be fully present with that person. Listen actively without planning your response while they are talking. This not only improves relationships with others but also builds up more self-respect and self-love.
If practiced regularly, all of these techniques can create a much more centred, aware, and fulfilling life.
Challenges and Continual Growth
Mindfulness, like any skill, requires practice and patience. Initially, your mind may wander frequently, or you may become easily distracted but know that it’s okay and it’s normal at the beginning. The practice of mindfulness isn’t about achieving a state of perpetual focus but about being self-aware and able to consciously return to the present moment each time you drift.
As you delve deeper into mindfulness, you might uncover feelings or memories that are painful for you or challenging. Embrace them with compassion and love, understanding that they are all part of your journey too.
People, problems, experiences, and moments come and go in our lives, but the relationship we have with ourselves always remains constant. Through the practice of mindfulness, we can create a deeper and more loving relationship with ourselves, one present moment at a time. As you move on your journey through self-awareness and presence, remember that at its core, mindfulness is a celebration of the self, right here, right now. Here. Now.
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What if the path to self-love wasn’t outside of us but in
your own inner space, in the here and now?
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Fiona Elizabeth is a Teacher of Beingness and Self-love leader. She has a Master in Metaphysical Science and is a certified Metaphysical Practitioner, Ordained Minister, Spiritual Counsellor, Shadow Worker, and Journal Therapist.
“My mission is to hold a safe, nurturing space for you to grow and live a life that is grounded in self-love, self-knowledge, self-transformation, and spiritual alignment. Teaching and sharing self-love and spiritual practices that nourish your needs, mind, and heart, and support you in aligning with your highest self and purpose. “