Over the last few years there has been a lot of hype around mindfulness and everyone seems to have jumped on board this train. But what does it mean to be mindful? Does it really come down to being vegan, always happy and meditating all day?
For me, mindfulness is about taking the time to be present in each moment and not allowing life to bypass you and managing chronic pain. We can get to the end of the day, week, month or even year and realise we have nothing of particular importance to remember because we have been too busy, rushing, thinking, working to even notice what is happening around us.
We should be aware of our journey through this precious life and be able to recall the highs and the lows and as many moments in between as possible.
It seems that we have all become addicted to experiencing our lives through social media and rely heavily on this validation to make it through each thing that happens to us. What would happen if we weren’t taking photos, creating statuses with our latest updates and instead focused on the moment at hand?
I underwent some great challenges in 2011 and that’s when I found mindfulness. It has changed my life. If like me, you want to live a more mindful existence, try with these initial simple steps to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.
- Wake up and Show up – each day as you wake up set your intention for the day and give thanks for another day. This is you intentionally and mindfully setting the tone for the day ahead and how you choose to start it.
- Take your self-talk lightly – Observe what is going on in your mind, but don’t take it all so seriously. Question the thoughts that don’t serve you or come from conditioning that you know isn’t in alignment with your true self. Through this kind of self-observation, you have the gift of being able to step back and analyse your mind instead of being swept away by the current.
- Allow yourself to feel – Mindfulness isn’t centred around always being happy. It’s about acceptance of the present moment as it is. This means to allow yourself to feel what you need to feel, without trying to control, manipulate or resist it. With this awareness you are more able to respond as you need too to create a change that you need, and you can also remain calm and centred no matter what life throws at you.
- Chew your food – This may seem like it isn’t rocket science to you, but you would be surprised how many people inhale their food without tasting or feeling it. Many people can suffer from indigestion, bloating and other digestion issues simply because they don’t take the time to eat properly and rush a meal. When eating, take the designated time to eat, turn off all your devices (including the tv), sit at a table and enjoy the meal before you. Eating and chewing slowly, taking the time to taste, smell and feel your food forces you to eat mindfully and you may find through this practice you eat less as it allows your brain to catch up and let you know when you are full, so you don’t over eat.
- Focus on each task – Every day moments such as doing the washing up, ironing, cooking and so on are things we tend to just do on auto pilot without thinking too much about them. Turning these tasks into mindful moments can be quite enlightening. When folding your laundry for example, feel the textures of the fabric, smell the detergent and just take the time to make it a thought-out process instead of something done in a rush. In this way, everything you do becomes a sacred ritual.
- Exercise – Exercise is good for everything including the mind. Whether you go to the gym or exercise at home, it can lift your mood, help you sleep better and reduce anxiety and tiredness. For me yoga and Pilates are my go too and I love to do at least once session of each a week if not more. I find its complete mind and body restoration and relaxation. Find what works for you and incorporate it into your routine.
- Take deep breaths – Although our breathing is automated because our bodies are awesome, it is always good to slow down and take a moment to truly connect with yourself. Take three deep breaths regularly throughout the day. This can help blood circulation, stress levels, energy and posture. It also helps bring your focus back into the moment, aiding in your mindfulness practice.
- Take a moment – Often times we are in such a rush, going from this place to the next, or doing this or that, that we literally do not take the time to be present and acknowledge the beauty all around us. Each moment is precious, so whether is a beautiful flower, a child that’s asking for your attention or you just want to sit out in nature and take it all in, take the time and do it. Take time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and be present, let everything go for those few moments.
- Say NO – In this day and age we are all guilty of trying to keep up with the Jones’s. It drives us to get the latest this or that, go to the parties and instead all we really want to do is take a me day and chill out in bed or take a long hot soak. So, when you next get asked to do something, ask yourself if you really want to do this? What are your reasons for doing this? What do you want to do? Are you afraid of being alone? Missing out? Just by checking in with yourself and allowing your true feelings to surface, that’s you right there being mindful.
- Hobbies – What do you enjoy doing? Taking up a practice of doing something you love, is the best form of meditation, as you focus on what you are doing, and your mind can stop its relentless cycle.
I hope this helps you begin or develop your mindfulness practice.
Interested in knowing more? I am currently taking booking for my coaching sessions starting in January, please do drop me an email if you are interested in learning more.