Mindfulness practices can help you pursue patience and live a fuller, more abundant life. Plus, they’re easy and always available to us. As we seek to become more mindful, our life can be full of appreciation for the small things and we can likely feel less overwhelmed as we focus on the task at hand.
If you find yourself pulling up to your house after a day of work and not remembering the drive home, or consistently having to retrace your steps because you don’t recall why you went into a certain room, it’s probably time to tune into your senses and become more self-aware, present, and mindful.
Learning to be more mindful can help you fully enjoy all that life has to offer. As you immerse yourself in each moment, you can not only use mindfulness practices to realign your energies but can also learn new and better ways of coping with the stresses of life without becoming overwhelmed.
How Mindfulness Can Help Us Be More Present
During life’s monumental events, it is a little easier to be grateful for the beauty of your life. When you hit a milestone, it provides a kind of automatic awakening where you’re fully immersed in it. During good times and bad, treasured moments and traumas, these times seem to give clarity to what truly matters. Even if it’s a painful experience, you almost can’t help but be mindful of it. The tricky part is to practice mindfulness during the day-to-day moments we tend to look past.
Do you know the happiness and contentment you feel when immersed in a fulfilling, momentous time in your life? When you practice mindfulness, you can experience that on a daily basis. You may not feel the elation of a wedding or the depths of a loss, but with daily practice, you can work toward achieving an even-keeled attitude — a merry-go-round rather than a roller coaster.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about being in the now or being present. Each day yields a myriad of influential experiences. Mindfulness is a heightened awareness of all facets of each moment; you might say it’s basically paying full attention to your current time and place, without judgment or overthinking. When you’re being mindful, you might take more notice of:
And much more
When we spend too much time agonizing over the past and worrying about the future, we are unnecessarily burdening ourselves. Mindfulness can help us govern ourselves from worry and help realign our energies toward positivity.
Mindfulness Practices: 10 Ways to Become More Mindful
There are many different ways to have a focused practice of mindfulness, through activities like yoga and meditation. These types of exercises can take mindfulness to another level, but just focusing on everyday normal activities can boost your presence, connection, and energy as well.
1. Take time to Meditate
Meditation is a very powerful tool to help you live a more mindful life. Meditation is about focusing on a single thing, such as your breathing, and letting everything else go. Beginners will sometimes use a physical object to focus on, like a candle, flower, or the birds outside the window to help them maintain that focus. Closely observing an object or living thing can help you be more mindful.
Having a daily meditation practice can help you maintain a healthy energy level, and the beauty is you can meditate at any time. To get the most out of your meditation, try to follow some of these tips:
Choose a location with few distractions
Sit securely and comfortably
Sit with back straight, but not stiff
Keep arms relaxed and parallel to your body
Rest hands on lap
Follow your breath in and out
If your mind wanders, don’t stress, just refocus
A daily or twice-daily meditation of about 30-60 minutes can make a world of difference in your demeanor, attitude, and mindfulness, but this may be a bit long and a tad difficult for newcomers. Taking even just 5 to 10 minutes to sit and quiet your mind can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of your day. Try starting with short sessions and work up from there.
2. Fully Experience the Moment
No matter what you’re doing, try to give your full attention to that one experience. Enjoying a delicious dinner is a good scenario for illustrating mindfulness.
Prepare the food yourself. As you cook, think about each ingredient, how it will taste, and how it will nourish you.
Then, don’t just EAT the food, relish it! When you eat, do only that. Do not read. Do not watch television. Do not use a device. Consider each bite and relish the flavors.
As you take your first bite, try to experience it with all of your senses. Sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Take in the scents, textures, and flavors of each and every bite.
Put your fork down between bites and take a few moments to reflect on the bounty before you.
Observe the atmosphere around you with the same steps above while you enjoy your meal.
Being more mindful when you eat should allow you to get much more enjoyment out of the experience.
These steps apply to many other situations! Mindfulness means tuning in more deeply to anything you’re experiencing.
3. Start with Pleasant Experiences
If you’ve never practiced mindfulness before, start with something easy! An experience that you WANT to be fully immersed in is a good place to start. A delicious meal like we just described, a beautiful sunset stroll, a bubble bath, or any other positive experience that comes to mind are enjoyable ways to begin your mindfulness practice.
Eventually, this skill will transfer over to other experiences. For example, you might try practicing mindfulness while you do the dishes. You could focus on the feeling of the water on your hands, the smell of the soap, the sound of your family moving around you, or whatever else your senses pick up on!
By slowly building up your ability to be mindful, you’ll be able to call on this strength when you’re in a more stressful or unpleasant situation.
4. Focus On Just One Thing At A Time
Multitasking may make you feel like you’re accomplishing more, but it can actually slow you down. Multitasking has actually been shown in studies to reduce efficiency and performance. This is because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Since it’s actually counterproductive to multitask, try focusing on one single task at a time. This applies to all aspects of life, including work.
5. Limit Time Online
Part of what keeps us distracted in our modern lives is our frequent connection to the online world. With cell phones always at our fingertips, and so much of our work happening on the computer, it can be hard to unplug. Social media, email notifications, text messages, and phone calls can make us feel like we need to be perpetually available. However, these distractions can make it hard to practice mindfulness and presence.
Try setting boundaries for screen time. Set specific times of day when you’ll intentionally be online, network on social media, respond to messages and engage with your online community. Then, designate times when you will be offline. Perhaps try to stay off your phone for an hour or two first thing in the morning, and before bed.
6. Engage in Mindful Movement
Whatever type of movement you enjoy engaging in can be a wonderful opportunity to become more mindful. For example, if you’re going for a walk, take time to appreciate your surroundings. Pay close attention to your movement. Feel the flexing of muscles and stretching of tendons and ligaments. Focus on HOW you are walking. Are you limping? Favoring one side over the other? Make a firm, solid connection with the surface below you, which can help ground you both physically and spiritually.
7. Make Time for Mindfulness
You might think “I’m too busy to add mindfulness to my day!” but really, there are always small pockets of time when you can practice mindfulness. Look for the small transition moments throughout your day. Perhaps you have a few moments standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in your car before you head inside, or transitioning from one task to another at work. In these moments, try practicing mindfulness! Center yourself with a few deep breaths, and observe the world around you. Notice the people, the sounds, the scents, and the sights. Then, proceed to the next task! It might seem simple, but it’s a powerful and quick way to bring yourself into the present moment.
8. Listen Deeply
The readily-available distractions in life have caused many to lose the ability to focus. When that happens, it’s hard to be there and in the moment for loved ones who need to talk. You may also be missing out on great stories and newly-created memories. Focus on what is being said without replying or interrupting. Pause before saying or doing anything.
9. Connect with Your Breath
A great way to slow down in your day-to-day life, and become more mindful, is to focus on your breath. This can be helpful for bringing you into your body, and into the present moment. It’s a great tool because you can use it anywhere. Simply pause whatever you’re doing for a moment, and take a deep, slow inhalation. At the top of your inhale, pause for a moment. Then, slowly let the breath out. You could repeat this a few times over – but even one breath will help center you!
10. Release Trapped Emotions
Sometimes, emotional baggage from the past can impact our ability to be fully present and mindful in our day-to-day life. When our bodies are in “fight or flight” mode, it’s really hard to slow down. It can feel much easier to distract ourselves from how we feel. By using the Emotion Code® and the Body Code™, you can release these emotional reverberations that might be holding you back from mindfulness.