Mindfulness has come into vogue recently as a major philosophical breakthrough in how a person lives their life. But as soon as you start getting all serious and heavy zen about it, the concept starts sounding abstract and intimidating. In reality, mindfulness is a simple way of thinking that can lead to a person enjoying their life more. The core tenet of mindfulness is being present in the moment, wherever you are or whatever you’re experiencing. It has its origins in Buddhism, but you don’t have to become a monk to appreciate the technique; in fact, you can start becoming more mindful right here, right now.

Mindfulness can be applied to all aspects of your life, whether you’re traveling and living for new experiences or simply enjoying a book in a comfy chair at home. Becoming proficient at it will ultimately help you enjoy your dreams to the fullest as they become a reality, and you keep checking entries off your personal bucket list. Log on to BUCKiTDREAM to see which other ‘DREAMers have already gotten hip to mindfulness, then keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we show you how mindfulness can enhance your upcoming adventures!

What It Is The main goal of mindfulness is to achieve a non-judgmental state of awareness of both your thought patterns and your surroundings, on a moment-to-moment basis. This moment-to-moment consciousness is the fundamental aim of the practice; once you condition your mind to appreciate where you are at this present moment in time, you can start feeling some gratitude for it and enjoy. This ultimately leads to an appreciation of all facets of life, and the ability to slow down and take in your existence as you experience it. It takes a person off the reactionary ‘autopilot’ mode we’re all conditioned to assume, and lets you accept your thoughts and surroundings without judgment.

What It Does Too often in our lives, we focus on either the past or the future, sometimes forgetting to experience time in the present moment. As we all know, time goes (or appears to go) very fast; but the experience of time is subjective. We have the ability to slow time down by engaging in mindfulness and choosing to live in the now, moment to moment. Of course, you don’t have to constantly engage in the practice in order to experience the benefit of it; it’s simply an outlook and a way of thinking that has a cumulative effect. Mindfulness has many proven benefits for practitioners, including reduced stress, decreased symptoms of depression, a better ability to deal with distressing situations such as illness, and improved general health and wellbeing.

How To Do It Despite all the lofty ambitions of mindfulness, it is actually remarkably easy to incorporate into your life. Meditation is the main way a person tries out the practice, and it can be as little as ten minutes a day. Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, and focus on the in-out pattern of your breathing. Your mind will naturally wander; as it does, accept the thoughts, then bring your attention back to your breath. Don’t get annoyed if your mind can’t keep focused; it’ll take a while to get the hang of it. If the meditation sounds too intimidating at this point, you can start off small by simply taking five minutes out of your day to sit and do nothing. This will help your mind get into a relaxed responsive state. You don’t even have to be sitting down to do it; while you’re walking along the street, simply feel the ground under your feet, or be aware of the background noises that accompany your stroll. It can even be something as simple as appreciating the feeling of the cushion on a seat! Whichever way you choose, you’ll be benefitting your frame of mind almost immediately.

How You Can Apply It To Your Travels Mindfulness can enhance your travels in many ways. Traveling is usually a source of great stress; you can help decrease those levels with a daily meditation or two. When you’re out and about on your dream holiday, there’s also a tendency to look forward to doing this or that, which is totally understandable; too much of this, though, and the whole thing will fly by in a flash. An expert traveler will appreciate every step of the journey, creating priceless memories as they go. Mindfulness can be a great tool to help you have the best experience you can!

It’s so easy to incorporate the mindfulness practice into your life. The benefits are immediate and considerable, which is something Buddhists have known for a long time; despite the movement being a relatively modern phenomenon in the West, those in the know in the East have been practicing mindfulness for over 2,500 years. Log on to BUCKiTDREAM to see if any other travelers have experienced the joys of mindfulness, and don’t be afraid to give it a try and incorporate it into your own life (and BUCKiTDREAM adventures)!