- On January 6, 2017
- 0 Comments
- meditation, mindfullness, trend, wellness
Mindfulness. It’s the mot-du-jour, and likely to be the go-to wellness trend of 2017. We are all over-scheduled and over-committed in our professional and personal lives. We feel this need to do more, see more, be more. We want to step back and take a break. We want to breathe, and be more aware. But many of us don’t know how to begin. We click on article links stressing the importance of mindfulness, and listen to podcasts and apps that guide us through meditative exercises, all while wondering what it is we are actually supposed to do.
We are type-A personalities often living and working in hectic urban centers, and the somewhat flowery idea of sitting in a field and meditating while listening to chants does not exactly resonate well with us. We don’t have time for that. We don’t have any other options though. We can play soccer because we know how to kick. We can play basketball because we know how to run. We can read because we are literate and know the alphabet.
We can therefore only be mindful if we know how to truly be in the present moment.
And so how do you start? What are some simple actionable steps to be more mindful, right here, right now?
Are you used to looking at your smartphone or tablet while commuting to work? Ever notice how almost everyone is attached to his or her device? Try making all (or at least a section) of your commute time a ‘no-technology’ time. Unplug. Look up. Interact with the world around you. No need to start up a conversation, but allow yourself to be a part of the environment. Allow your mind to wander.
2. Tune In.
Our senses are inundated with too many stimuli throughout the day. We listen, we feel, we touch all day long, and yet often we are unable to discern any particular sound, emotion, or sensation. Try tuning in to one of your senses, while setting the others aside. Close your eyes and think about the sounds that you are hearing – from the typing of an adjacent keyboard, to the pedestrians crossing the street. Then shift your mindset and think about your body and what it is touching – is your blouse soft and delicate on your shoulders? Are your shoes warm and comforting on your feet? Tuning in to our senses for a few minutes, a few times per day, can retrain our minds to focus on the present moment. Want to try this exercise at home? Soak in a tub and think about the sensation of the water on your body. Sleep in the nude and feel the sheets and pillows as they touch your skin.
3. Share Gratitude.
You often hear about the importance of practicing gratitude in order to live with a positive mindset – the trick here is to also share gratitude. How do you do this? Thank others out loud a few times per day and let them know why they have made you feel grateful. Thank your colleague for helping you complete a task on time and tell them that it means a lot that they were able to set their priorities aside in order to support you. Thank your partner for doing the dishes and let them know that it makes you feel relaxed that there are fewer chores for you to do. Being grateful on a daily basis is key to your own happiness. Sharing gratitude matters too – you are choosing to spend a few minutes in a positive space, with another individual. You’ll be amazed at how this positive energy translates to being more present.
4. Slow Down.
Spend an extra two minutes in bed, and cuddle, and stretch. Spend an extra minute in the shower and let the water wake you up. Eat slower and pay attention to the tastes and the texture of your food. Walk an extra 5 minutes to pick up your coffee and breathe in the outdoor air. Slow down and notice yourself being more present. Feel rushed for time in the morning? Head to bed a bit earlier and set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier. That’s really all you need to start the day off on the right foot, and at the right pace. Slowing down forces your body and mind to reset, and take a step off of the hamster wheel.
You don’t need to be a monk in order to be mindful. Sure, you can book a retreat or practice yoga on a daily basis, but these four easy actions won’t interfere in your busy day, and they will set you up for success.
How do you unwind? Do you have simple ways that you are mindful throughout the day? Let us know in the comments below.