We’ve all heard about the undeniable benefits of mindfulness. In fact, it’s one of the trending buzzwords of the decade. But if mindfulness only elicits images of long meditation sessions or extended yoga poses, you’re missing out on what the concept truly means.
Mindfulness is a state of being; it’s about being present and aware of your current surroundings; it’s about finding acceptance within your feelings, and it’s about finding calmness even amidst chaos. And no, you don’t need to be a monk or dedicated yogi to implement mindfulness in your life.
How To Be More Mindful
Mindfulness, in its fundamental sense, is incredibly simple. It’s also natural, and we all have experience doing it. Just look at any child running around on the playground to observe mindfulness in action.
You don’t need any training or equipment. You don’t need to go anywhere or change your current routine. In fact, the conscious decision to be more mindful will foster increased mindfulness. Here are some simple, effective tips for boosting your ability to enjoy the present moment.
Find A Mantra That Works
We’re all prone to stress and tension. Developing a mantra for mindfulness can help you refocus when life starts feeling busy or overwhelming. There are many mantras (and you can create your own!), but here are a few examples to consider:
- I am where I need to be.
- Today is giving me what I need.
- This moment is a gift.
- I am focusing on my breath right now.
- I am grounded.
- I release all tension and fear.
- I am here now, and I’ll be there later.
- My heart is open to the world around me.
Practice Two-Minute Meditation
If you feel uncertain about committing to meditation, you’re not alone! Meditation is an exercise, and just like with working your muscles, it takes time to master it. At the beginning of your practice, it is normal to feel like it’s not working or that you’re not doing it right.
That said, meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective. Set a timer for two minutes, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. If thoughts arise (and they will!), practice acknowledging and releasing their presence. Return to the breath. As you become more comfortable with this practice, consider adding more time.
Commit To Active Listening
Do you want to feel more connected in your personal relationships? Do you want to deepen the emotional intimacy you share with others? Who doesn’t?Active listening is an essential part of communication. Unfortunately, most of us are distracted when interacting with others. We think about ourselves, we focus on what we want to say next, we find our minds wandering on the next thing we need to do.
Active listening simply means being present and aware when someone else is speaking. Internal or external distractions will arise, but an active listener opts to push those aside and focus on the person in front of them. If it sounds hard, it’s because it is! However, the more you practice this skill, the easier it will become.
Engage In Basic Tasks More Mindfully
Chances are, you move through most of your day cruising on auto-pilot. You brush your teeth, drive to work, eat dinner, and wash the dishes without even thinking about it. And then, like most, you wonder where the day went.
That said, you can practice mindfulness doing your basic chores throughout the day. Consider how you can stay focused and present the next time you sweep the floor or fill up the car with gas. Enter the experience with the intention to embrace the task wholeheartedly. What senses arise? What thoughts clutter your mind?
Regardless of what comes up, focus on returning to the single task. You’ll find that you feel calmer- and you may even cross off more items on your to-do list!
Mindful people tend to be happy people! They also tend to be emotionally and physically healthier. Finally, the more you can focus on increasing your ability to stay present, the more engaged you will feel with your life.