“The real meditation is how you live your life.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Busyness is the norm in most people’s lives! People are racing from task to task without a pause. It is like being on treadmill without being able to shut it off.
Then we wonder why stress is rampant in society.
Cultivating a mindfulness practice can provide a way to take small breaks during your hectic day thus reducing your stress levels. Reducing your stress levels and slowing yourself down are also great ways to be more productive, healthy and happy.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that is not done using the traditional meditation techniques, rather it is done while engaging in everyday activities.
The focus of mindfulness is turning our attention to the present moment.
It is easier than you think. Ready to try?
Set the tone for your day. Before you roll out of bed to begin another frantic day, lie still for a few moments. In those moments set the tone for your day by scanning your body from head to toe noticing tightness or tension and releasing this tension with a few deep breaths. Next, set your intention for the day. I like to begin my day with a big smile and saying, I open my heart to whatever this day brings.
Breathing. Mindfulness and breathing go hand in hand. Focusing on your breathing automatically brings you into the present moment and stops your thoughts. Try it! Take a few deep breaths, keeping your focus on the air moving in and out of your body then see if you notice any thoughts. The quickest way to slow down and be mindful is to take a several deep breaths.
Practise an attitude of gratitude. When you are truly appreciative and grateful for everything in your life, you are more aware of our surroundings. Being aware of your surroundings is a form of mindfulness. When you express gratitude from your heart you can feel it radiate from the centre of your chest into your entire body and outward. It’s a great stress buster.
Focus on only one thing at a time. Science has proven you aren’t capable of multi-tasking. You can only focusing on one task at a time and when you do you increase your productivity as well the quality of what you are doing. The great teachers of our time have known this and now science is also agreeing. Focus on one thing and do it well.
Hit the reset. You started your day with great intention and all was going well, then a series of things happen that disrupt your calm feeling. No problem! As soon as you notice that your day is falling apart you can reset the tone. Take a few deep breathes restate your intention. Take a few moments for the intention to settle and then you can resume what you were doing with your calm restored.
Let your focus wander. At various times during the day stop what you are doing and let your eyes wander. If you are in an office without windows let your focus rest on something that gives you great joy. Perhaps it’s a picture of a loved one, a saying or a happy memory. Let yourself feel the happy sensations in your body. If you have a window to look out, let your gaze go where it wants to. When your gaze stops take note of what you are looking at. Try not to think, rather notice it’s shape, colour, light and shadows. Without the thinking, judgement, labels we relax and appreciate what it is. When you return to your tasks you will feel more relaxed, grounded and clear.
Get in touch with your senses. When you are eating or drinking pay close attention to the texture, taste, shape, of what you have in your mouth. If you walking in Nature pay close attention to all the smells, sights, feelings (ie breeze), even tastes that come to you. Right now stop reading and pick up something and feel its texture and shape and warmth. Next time you hear a new song, stop and listen intently to the words and rhythms. We take our senses for granted. Isn’t it time to pay attention to the gifts they bring us?
Celebrate your little achievements during the day. Our days are filled with tasks that we complete and then move on the next one. It can very robotic. To appreciate what you have done take a few moments to celebrate completing a task. This can be as simple as stopping and saying, “Yahoo, job well done” or giving yourself a little reward. My reward is a 5 minute stretch or break.
Smile. This may sound too simple, but it isn’t. When was the last you stopped during your day and smiled at nothing in particular? Studies have proven that a smile changes our body chemistry and helps relieve stress. So, get out there and smile. Smile at yourself, smile at others, smile for no reason at all.
Taking a few moments during the day to be mindful can reduce stress, make you more productive, give you clearer insights and be happier.
Go ahead try it! Let me know what works for you.