Do you often rush out the door and on with your day without thinking about how you’d like things to go? Next thing you know, something or someone has rubbed you the wrong way, and you find yourself making decisions with distracted minds, reacting to situations with frustration, impatience, or rageinstead of responding how you’d like?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above please note you are not alone and that there are simple ways to be more mindful about the way you live your life.
Do I hear you ask what exactly is ‘being mindful’?
Being mindful is the ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
And there are several benefits associated with practicing mindfulness, some of which include:
Mindfulness enables you to rest your mind and body allowing you to focus, and appreciate, what you have instead of taking things for granted. The awareness, and the feeling of gratitude, may help you feel renewed.
With practice you start to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and manage them in a positive way. Taking control of your thoughts and feelings can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Being mindful may help enhance relationships. In our busy lives, we often get distracted in interactions with close friends and family and take them for granted. When was the last time your loved ones had your full attention in a conversation, without your mind wondering elsewhere? As you become more aware of those moments of your mind wondering, you are likely to give your loved ones more attention.
Being mindful at work means focusing on one task at a time instead of multitasking. This makes it more likely you will be able to perform a task well and faster. Did you know? It’s humanly impossible to focuson two tasks at the same time? Focus meaning giving 100% of your attention to something.
Exercising mindfully help to activate the right muscles, and improve the effectiveness of the exercise you’re doing whilst cultivating body awareness at the same time. You get a lot more out of a session done mindfully than one done mindlessly.
Research suggests that mindfulness may help people cope with long-term health issues such as cancer, chronic pain and depression.
So, are you keen to give mindfulness practicing a go?
Here are three simple tips to get you started:
- One-minute breathing exercise. Sit with your back straight but relaxed. For the next minute, focus your entire attention on your breathing in and out, how air passes in and out of your nostrils, and how your abdomen rises and goes down with each breath. If thoughts start crowding in, gently let them go and re-focus on your breathing.
- Check in with yourself. Bring yourself into the present moment by asking yourself, ‘What is going on with me at the moment?’ You can label your thoughts and feelings – for example, ‘that’s an anxious feeling’ – and let them go. You may start to feel more of an observer instead of someone reacting to thoughts and feelings.
- Eat mindfully. When you’re eating, focus on your food. Don’t read, check your mobile or watch TV at the same time. Pay attention to how your food looks, smells, and tastes. You may find you enjoy your food more, and stop eating when you’re full instead of automatically finishing what’s on your plate.