The lessons turtles teach us- A glimpse into Mindfulness
What does it mean to be "mindful"? This term is often used along with meditation, meaning that you pay close attention to such things as your breathing and focus in order to slow yourself down and clear your mind. There are endless possibilities of ways that you can add mindfulness to your everyday life. A few examples to get you started in becoming more aware of the present moment, without judgement, include such things as:
Noticing your surroundings as you take a walk-- feel the breeze blowing, the sun shining on your skin, the scent of the flowers, and the chirping of the birds.
Notice the ocean as you sit on the beach-- the sound of the crashing waves, the curl of the waves, the salty smell in the air.
Notice the way it feels to exercise-- your muscles hard at work, the feeling of your feet hitting the ground, your breath changing.
Notice others' body language, tone, and facial expressions as their talking to you and bring awareness to how you are reacting and responding to them.
Noticing the little things around you (or in your body) will help you to feel more grounded, reduce stress and anxiety, and most of all, help you to appreciate each moment as it comes. Similarly, listening attentively to what a friend, family member, or partner is saying to you can help to improve your relationships. Communicating mindfully allows others to feel heard and cared about because of the time and attention that you are giving them. This can make them feel important and special, and can only improve the quality of a relationship of any sort. Giving another person this type of attention and quality time is the best gift you can give them, and it will feel great when it is reciprocated as well!
Now you may be wondering why a picture of a turtle was included with this article. Not only do I think that they have the right idea by taking their time getting from place to place (not that people should be late, but slowing down the pace can help with observing your surroundings), but I also wanted to share the beautiful details in the turtle's shell. I'm assuming that the average person has not spent very much time looking at turtle's shells, and this seems to be a great example of a time when it would be beneficial to be mindful of what is around us. If we rushed past it, we wouldn't have been able to observe or appreciate the natural beauty that has been there all along.
I encourage you to try it for yourself- sit quietly and observe the colors as you watch the sunset, while taking some slow, deep breaths. Smell the scent of the roses the next time you pass by a rose garden, and really breathe it in. When speaking to a child, listen closely to what they're saying and give them your full attention by facing them and maintaining eye contact. I bet you will notice a feeling of satisfaction and calm come over you from making these small changes in how you use your time and experience the present moment. Now is the time.