“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
I think of mindfulness as being in the moment, being aware of what I’m doing and what I’m thinking. I don’t want life to pass me by. It’s so easy to slip into autopilot mode and eat, work, sleep, repeat, day in, day out and what do you know, you can’t remember what you had for dinner last night.
How hard can it be? Well, it is hard to be fully in the moment. We live in a hectic world where everyone is busy and we want everything to be instant. We spend a lot of time trying to predict the future which we can’t do, or thinking about the past, the what ifs, the could have been and if only….? It’s impossible to live in the past or the present. The past is a memory and the future is imagination. What’s wrong with here and now?
Formal mindfulness is the sitting in meditation part and informal mindfulness is paying attention in everyday life. The bad news is there is no App or outsourcing for it, only you can do it. The good news is mindfulness is an accumulative process and it will get easier with practice. Remember when you learnt to drive a car, how daunting that was? However with regular practice, it became easier and easier. It is perfectly fine to have an informal practice without a formal mindful mediation practice, though they are complimentary.
I want to make this simple and easy to do, so here are six ways you can introduce some Mindfulness activities to your daily life.
Breathe – Your breath is your anchor, use it. You’ve heard it before, take a deep breath or two or three in and out your nose. Pay attention, focus on it and follow it, in and out. Learn pranayama exercises and incorporate into your daily routine.
Move – Being good at it doesn’t matter, daggy dance to your own beat, yoga, tai chi, running anything that you have to pay attention to.
Nature – Walk outside or on the beach and listen. Just listen deeply for a full five minutes to the sounds around you. You will be surprised at just how loud nature can be.
Eat mindfully – Give one meal a day your full attention and breakfast is a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be gourmet but pay attention to the texture, the flavours and the temperature. Disengage from distractions such as your phone or iPad, prepare a nourishing meal and enjoy it. Get up 15 mins earlier if you have to. Do it!
Colour in – Colouring in is popular right now and it’s popular for a reason. Try it, you might like it, or try Zentangle or just have fun doodling.
Laugh – Whenever you can – watch a comedy or do something fun with a friend. It’s hard to be elsewhere when you are laughing.
Do one mindful thing a day and see how you feel after a week or two. Mindfully doesn’t mean slowly it means with purpose, with awareness in the moment.