We live in a world with more demands than ever. With to-do-lists miles long both personally and professionally, keeping up with our social media feeds and news headlines breaking everyday, it’s safe to say we are distracted. In our minds, we are often in the ‘what happened’ or ‘what’s going to happen’, processing both the past and the future at the same time. But what about the present? With all of this thinking and multi-tasking we do, are we fitting the here-and-now into our streams of consciousness? With all of this going on in our mind, could we honestly say that we are, however, mindFUL? Unfortunately most people in today’s society don’t even know what that means. It’s the ability to check in with your feelings, as they are happening, being in the present moment and breaking the continuity of the ‘story’ in your mind. It’s the ability to be fully conscious and immersed only in what you are doing at that very moment; being filled with that and that alone – similar to a child playing. The benefit of being mindful is that we are able to recognize our true thoughts and feelings, off-load the stress and worry of all that is not presently taking place at that very moment and improve focus. We are able to cultivate this space of refuge for ourselves that is void of all of the heavy burdens that are either gone or aren’t here yet and just ‘be’. Sounds great right? Well it takes practice. We might have to reel ourselves back again and again to the present because we are so used to getting whisked away to wherever our mind tends to go but here are some tips that can help you become more mindful in your everyday life, no matter where you are:
- Focus on your breath. Breathing is obviously something we never have to think about but when we do, it’s amazing how it brings us right into focus. Take 3 long, deep, cleansing breaths and notice how it makes your body and mind feel.
- Pick one activity to do ‘mindfully’. When we choose one – even the smallest of tasks – to do mindfully, like brushing our teeth, we start flexing our mindfulness muscle and it becomes stronger. When you are brushing your teeth, simply remind yourself that you are only responsible to focus on that task in that space and time – that’s it!
- Check in with your body and feelings, We often are only aware of how we feel when we have no choice but to pay attention – when we are overly emotional or even sick. Stop for a second and check in with your body and sense where you might have tension and allow yourself to release it. Identify how you might be feeling emotionally using statements like “I am sad”, “I am afraid” or “I am angry”. This works to identify and actually decrease the power of those emotions.