A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind
Research suggests that more than half of the time, our minds are constantly busy thinking about things that do not matter at the moment. Ancient philosophy teaches us that we are happier and more focused when our thoughts and actions are aligned even when doing the simplest tasks like coloring. Mental Presence is a skill we must teach our mind to come into the present and reduce its wandering. This helps us to concentrate and focus in whatever we do specially sports and studies. Mindfulness reduces sadness and fidgeting. It makes us happy and content with ourselves with whatever we HAVE and not worry about what we do not have. It teaches us to be grateful.
How do we teach our minds to wander less and be still to focus on the activity at hand?
It is through breathing exercises and meditation with Azkaar. Our beloved Prophet Mohammad PBUH taught his daughter Fatima RA to find emotional strength through Azkaar. People regurgitate azkaar after salah but they forget the very essence of them and that is mindfulness.
Pause after every zikar and take a breath before you move on to the next. When you say Alhumdulillah take a breath and internalize its meaning that all praise and thanks belongs to Allah. Don’t jump on the GO train and say AlhumdulillahAlhumdulillahAlhumdulillahAlhumdulillah without pausing for breath. It is the very reason Rasool Allah PBUH asked us to count the azkaar on our FINGERS not on the rosary so we apply pressure on many areas of our fingers. Science proves that fingers have points that if we apply pressure on them, our bodies are protected from many neurological illnesses. SubhaanAllah our deen is so beautiful and complete!
Whenever you feel upset or you feel like you cannot concentrate or you cannot sit still, try these breathing exercises for mindfulness. Make the breath longer and deeper to soothe your nervous system. This breathing exercise improves lung capacity which in turn makes you good in sports and also in recitation of Quran. It helps you sleep better. When you do this exercise, bring awareness to the air movement through the throat into the chest. Feel your breath. There will be a gentle and calming noise. Do at least 10 rounds.
- Helps you relax
- Calms the mind
- Messages liver, stomach and intestines
- Improves circulation of blood to your organs
- Completely engages diaphragm
- Helps with asthma and wheezing
This breathing exercise involves conscious effort of fully engaging the diaphragm – the main muscle involved in breathing. The diaphragm moves downward when we inhale pushing the abdomen out. When we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and the abdomen contracts. These days we rely on our neck and ribcage muscles to breath because we don’t breath deep and we don’t keep our posture upright. Hunched forward postures due to overuse of hand held devices, puts pressure on diaphragm and it doesn’t get used to its maximum potential. Poor breathing causes many stress related health problems. When doing abdominal breathing sit tall in an upright posture or lie down without a pillow. Do not expand ribcage. Focus on expanding and contracting your abdomen to fully engage the diaphragm. Do at least 10 rounds.
Every breath is a gift and a mercy from Allah SWT. It’s another chance for us to do the right thing. Every breath must remind us to thank Allah for this gift of life and our hearts should be filled with ALHUMDULILLAH!
AND WE CAN DO IT.
IF ONLY WE PUT OUR MINDS INTO IT!
Keep Moving. Keep Improving.
Sadaf Jamal. Founder of Move N Improve Canada.
M.Sc. B.Sc. University of Waterloo
Certified Yoga Instructor
Spiritual Caregiver Volunteer
at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital General Campus