Mindfulness is a psychological term for bringing one’s attention to focus on the present. It is the process of conditioning the mind to be more aware. Mindfulness helps regulate our emotions, decreases stress, anxiety or depression, reduces blood pressure, and improves brain activity. The pursuit of mindfulness helps us better understand ourselves, settling our minds in a happy place where we embrace the things we cannot change while positively channelling our energy to the present. This essential part of life is often overlooked so here are some times during the day to practice mindfulness:
While you eat: We eat many times during the day and often forget to enjoy our food because we are also doing something else like watching TV. Try being fully present as you eat. Notice how the food tastes or smells so that you can feel satisfied after every meal.
While you work: During work, try to pause between actions to observe any sensations or emotions. Observe what you’re hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting or smelling. Do you smell coffee or see a colleague passing by? Can you hear the printing machine or taste the difference in your lunch and breakfast? Are you tired from looking at a computer screen or anxious about a meeting. Notice these without judgement to help you clear your mind of churning thoughts before you continue with an action.
While you wait: In our busy lives, we find it hard to wait to be attended to or for someone to arrive. Instead of focusing on the things you have no control over, take slow and deep breaths and notice how your body moves with each breath in and out. Know that your mind may get carried away in thought while you do this but try not to block those thoughts. Just let them come, let them be and let them go.
While you talk: Sometimes we find ourselves deep in conversation but we are not actually following along with what the other person is talking about. Try to notice things about this person such as the sound of their voice or the outfit they are wearing, without judging. Allow your thoughts to come and go then bring your attention back to the conversation at hand and engage fully in the conversation.
Practice makes perfect or at least makes you better than you were yesterday. Devoting time to practicing mindfulness will help you accept the things you cannot change and add more meaning to your daily routines. How do you practice mindfulness? We’d like to know in the comments below.