There’s been a lot of recent talk about mindfulness and how it can help us navigate our busy, modern-day lives. We’ve all been in the car only to realize we’ve arrived at our destination without really knowing how we got there. Have you ever had a conversation with someone while you were simultaneously texting only to look up at them and ask “huh?” In our busy world of multi-tasking and in a culture where we’re commonly expected to do more, could it be possible that less is more? Could being present and connected to each conversation, task, and moment of relaxation, allow us to tackle the rest of our to-do list with ease? We’ve taken some tried and true practices, and have condensed them into this easy-to-follow list to help you get started on being mindful, right away.
Breathe: Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat this two more times; notice how you feel. Do you have time to do this another three times? Or maybe even for one whole minute? Simply pausing to connect with your breath allows you the opportunity to focus on yourself and to block out the outside world, even if it’s just for a couple of breaths. Go ahead, close your eyes (yes, now!), and take three deep breaths!
well as be present on the act of eating. According to an article in The Huffington Post, many successful people don’t connect with their phones as soon as they wake up. Have you ever tried this? We like to think that we have to attend to everything right away, but the mere act of “checking in” can set the mind into motion. You can try moving your phone to a different room or give yourself at least 30 minutes each morning before you look at it. Even small breaks during the day give you a chance to stay mindful and focussed on what is in front of you. So…after you read the rest of this post, can you put down your phone for just 5 minutes?
Listen: We are constantly bombarded with noise, and our own noise can sometimes top that list. We want our opinions to be heard and our work to be noticed. I can recall watching a video with author and speaker, Simon Sinek, and hearing him say something along the lines that while the research supports that we are more connected than ever, we are also more alone than ever before. Take the time to connect with someone around you. Meet a friend for coffee, and listen to what is going on in their life. Keep your phone out of sight, be present, and listen. Call someone to say hello and when you ask how they are, listen to their answer before jumping in to share your own story. This practice might not come easy, but give it some time. At the end of the day, we humans are all very much the same; we want the chance to be heard. It makes it all the more meaningful when someone takes the time to stop what they are doing and listen.
Look Around: There are many different ways to be mindful. The next time you are walking down the street, take a look at what’s around you. We are so conditioned to walk with our eyes glued to our phones, but since you’ve already taken a break from your phone, you’re off to a great start! Notice the signs of nature around you. If you’re in a city, enjoy people-watching or see what new stores have popped up that you haven’t noticed before. You might be surprised at what you see, or who you bump into when you choose to open your eyes and enjoy what is in front of you.
Or, Don’t: The obvious opposite of looking around is not looking around. Our eyes are stimulated by so many of the things around us. You can give them a much needed rest, as well as sharpen your others senses by closing your eyes. This can be done in a quiet space, but also in a busy place. Find a seat somewhere, and close your eyes. Notice the sounds around you, the smells, the feel of the air. It’s amazing all of the things we miss out on when our minds are ten steps ahead of the present moment.
Written by: Christine Noonan