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Full mind vs mindful: how to let go

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A rise in mindful thinking often comes hand in hand with letting things go, forgetting the past and focusing on the present.

Yet this method can be easily confused. Firstly, we would not be who we are without our past lives, however many mistakes we think we have made.

Equally, I may be the only one that thinks this, but surely it is nearly impossible to be concentrating on the moment all of the time? This would mean never looking forward to anything, forgetting our happiest memories and perhaps even bordering on burying our heads about the problems in our lives that may actually need confronting.

Instead, how about we appreciate all that happens to us, and then let it go? A simple way for doing this is to thank every experience, take the lesson from it and then send it on its way - let it go, but only once it has taught us something.

Take this example...

You may be overthinking and getting worked up about a piece of coursework or deadline that needs too be met. You may experience anger, irritability and anxiety.

Focusing on the present in isolation may mean burying your head, procrastinating and simply distracting yourself from the task at hand. I mean, obviously concentrating on your breathing (or that biscuit your eating) is a lot easier than physically doing the work... Yet taking a lesson and then letting go could be more useful.

Appreciate the fact that your emotions have appeared - and note why this may be. Perhaps you are angry at yourself for not planning ahead of time, or you are anxious because you are putting so much pressure on yourself. Think about why this experience has occurred, and how you can actively work to resolve it. Fully letting go of things can only happen if you gain an awareness of why those thoughts, feelings, emotions or experiences occurred in the first place.

In my opinion, mindfulness does not mean avoidance. It can be a force for positive thinking if we are mindful of all that we are and take lessons from everything we feel, whether they be more negative or positive thoughts.

Perhaps true mindfulness means accepting that we are living in the present, yes, but also that the past, future plans and all of our thoughts and feelings shape us too.

Focus on the moment, but don't block out the lessons that can be learned from all that we feel. Take them on board, if just for a short while, and then let them go. With a bit of practice, this outlook will more effectively enhance your self awareness and your ability to manage anything that life may throw at you.