If you’re reading this right now, then you’ve got a lot to be grateful for.
At the moment, there’s a lot of conversation surrounding mindfulness, gratitude, and living in the moment. But what does this actually mean? To the average person, it may all sound like flowery nonsense or something that requires you to sit in your bedroom meditating. However, whilst meditation is an aspect of mindfulness, it’s only a small aspect of a mindful and grateful approach.
By definition, mindfulness is “the state of having full awareness of the present moment”, which sounds pretty simple, considering that we are usually consciously aware of what we are doing – driving to work, reading a book, scrolling through your phone, eating a sandwich etc. However, the importance of living in the present moment and having full awareness of the here and now is a fundamental part of living a fulfilling life.
If you see a professional about any mental (or physical!) illness, you’re likely to be recommended a form of mindfulness; whether that be meditating, body stretches; or even sleep. There’s no denying that focusing your attention and mind on a certain aspect of yourself is a positive step towards understanding and healing it.
This post isn’t going to attempt to teach you mindfulness or explain all the benefits of it. I just want to highlight how important it is to stay fully aware of what is going on Right Now.
I am writing this, as I’ve just looked through my Snapchat memories and seen photos from October last year. It’s strange because I look back and I initially see someone who looks happy, healthy; glowing even. Yet I know at the time I was stressed up to my eyeballs. Despite having absolutely nothing to stress over, I was so unhappy with my current life. I wanted to be better, better, the best at everything. I never come across as a competitive person; in fact, I’ll be the first to throw in the towel and say “whatever”, when it comes to actual competitive activities (unless its Mario Kart, in which case, I am going to win).
Yet in my life, I’ve always compared and competed with other people on a subconscious level. Wanting to be better than someone at something, all the time. Whether it’s the best grades, best figure, best hair, best job, more money, better aspirations, more friends… the list goes on. I don’t think I’ve ever just been happy with what I have right here, right now.
It’s only after everything completely fell apart, that I had to scrape back to the basics and genuinely be grateful for having a roof over my head and oxygen filling my lungs.
It’s when I look back at myself this time last year, and I think of how much pressure I put on myself to be perfect; without even realising that I was doing it. The irony is, in terms of my goals for last year; I’ve actually failed at what Heather in 2017 wanted to achieve. I put myself through so much stress to be perfect, that I actually cracked and failed at said perfection.
But that’s okay, because whilst it caused a ridiculous amount of heartache and difficulties, I’ve reached a point now where I am grateful for everything that I have, and I know that I don’t need more in my life. It’s okay to have goals and aims for the future but don’t let the chase for other things take credit away from what you already have.
We live in a world where we are bombarded with advertisements and rhetoric surrounding improving yourself – buy these clothes (they’re on sale!), eat these foods, get a degree, get a job, get a boyfriend, get more friends, my body is better than yours, my car is faster, save your money, spend your money etc etc. Just take a step back and understand that what you have right now, at this very moment, is the best that you’ve got.
You don’t need to be changing all the time to reach a new level of yourself. You don’t need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Despite what Instagram and retailers may tell you; you don’t need to buy the on-trend clothes, have the current trendy body (which makes no sense), you don’t need perfect grades, you don’t need a fat stack of cash or to be travelling the globe.
Any goals you have will be completed in their own time. Stressing and pressuring yourself can’t and won’t make it happen – if anything, stressing over something usually makes it harder to obtain.