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How to Bring Mindfulness into Your Everyday - 5 Practical Ways
We work, we play, we sleep, and try to be healthy in between. But we often get so caught up on the little things that we forget to look at the bigger picture. Consciously carving out some time every day to be present and check in with yourself could be the way to a more productive and meaningful existence. Keep reading to get 5 practical ways to weave in more mindfulness in your everyday life.
We work, we play, we sleep, and try to be healthy in between. But we often get so caught up on the little things that we forget to look at the bigger picture. Life becomes a rat race. Youre chasing your tail every day trying to get things done, and can't remember why or for what.
Consciously carving out some time each day to be present and check in with yourself could be the way to a more productive and meaningful existence. A more mindful existence.
But mindfulness isnt just about being present - its being aware of your experiences without passing judgement. Separating the emotions from the thoughts. Being mindful means focusing on a single task while you pay attention to your breath. In a more traditional way, you could say its a kind of daily meditation.
But why are we all so obsessed with being mindful?, we hear you ask. How can it improve our lives anyway?
With its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is now being brought into many consultation rooms as a recommended technique to achieve better health. Research has found that not only does it reduce stress and boost relaxation; it can also lower stress-induced inflammation, which adds to many physical ailments.
So if youre wondering what all the fuss is about, but also asking yourself how to factor this into your life, here are five practical ways to bring mindfulness into your everyday.
Our back pages Every Day Gratitude are a great tool for this.
You can set aside time to write down what youre grateful for each day. Before going to bed or just upon waking is always an easy time to remember, especially if you can keep your planner or notebook next to the bed.
At the end of the month, you can look back on your daily gratitudes and pick one that was a highlight for you.
Create a Personal Planner with mindfulness back pages
And if youre really out of practice on finding things to be grateful for, check out Walt Disneys 1960 film Pollyanna where a little girl teaches an entire town how to play the Glad Game!
Doing the essential jobs can be a total downer, especially if youre looking after others. Its understandable to avoid housework and hope that the dishes will magically reappear clean and back in the cupboard. But if you can see the link between housework and mindfulness, you may begin to look forward to it!
Smile, breathe and go slowly.
~Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk and peace activist
Just as monks have used domestic duties to practice mindfulness, its likely that thousands of women in recent history have used this technique too!
These repetitive and seemingly boring actions can be used to bring awareness, allowing you to go inward and to be governed by your senses. What do you see? What can you smell? Can feel the gentle breeze on your arms while hanging the washing? Bringing attention to your senses will root you in the present moment.
You can try focusing on your breath while folding the laundry or washing the dishes slowly while you notice the soap suds. You can actually enjoy the experience once you let go of the thoughts in your head saying you could be sitting on the couch watching television instead!
You can surely think of enough to write about one thing that happened in your day - and if youre used to writing more, it can be good to practice being concise!
Create a Personal Planner with mindfulness back pages
Check in with yourself to hear the internal messages coming from within or just recap the day. Its probably going to feel strange at first but, like anything, it gets easier and more enjoyable with practice.
Its common to feel stressed when youre stuck in traffic or race too fast through the backstreets to get the kids to school. Driving to familiar places can mean drifting off into thoughts about the past or future.
Our thoughts can be a powerful distraction, stealing our attention from the present moment.
By practicing mindfulness in the car we keep our driving in check, maintaining a safe distance from the car in front and remembering to check our blind spot.
Use the breath to bring awareness to what youre doing. Notice the landscape outside the window, feel your foot on the brake.
Set up a space at home where you can dance freely. Play your favourite playlist and LOUD! (Singing is optional but strongly recommended!)
Remind yourself of what your body feels when it moves. Whether in silence or with music, you can allow yourself to begin moving in a way that feels natural to you. Let the body tell you what it enjoys and avoid forcing or pushing yourself. The dance or movement can reveal itself organically.
Again, this may feel a bit strange for you at first if you arent used to it, but remember: Dance can be a creative and healing way of practicing mindfulness.
Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them
~ Eckhart Tolle
Whether youre practicing gratitude or learning to enjoy the housework, find what works for you. Keep it regular, focus on the breath and try to detach from your thoughts and emotions. The thoughts will always be there, but they don't have to run the show.
And remember, youre growing your mindfulness muscle, and that takes time and practice.
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