In this moment, are you happy? While this is a rather profound question that some may not like to answer, it is an important one. Often, we don’t take the time to be attentive to how we feel at the present moment. We are physically here, mentally elsewhere. Mindfulness is a mental state of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment without judgment. Awakening yourself to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or future, increases happiness.
Meditation is the most efficient way to practice mindfulness. Setting aside a specific time each day to refocus improves your life drastically. As you develop your meditation skills, mindfulness can be used throughout the day to enhance your results.
Mindfulness while Waking
The day’s tone is set from the moment it starts. The old expression, “he/she woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” is something we all know to be true. In a perfect world, I’d suggest you wake up without an alarm clock. As this is unrealistic for many, going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up to a calm, uplifting beat is a great start.
From the moment you wake, pay attention to both your mind and your body. Notice how you feel, stretch your limbs and back, focusing on the sensation of each movement.
Mindfulness in the Shower
The shower is an excellent place to escape the constant flow of thoughts filling our days. Alone, with the water hitting your skin, there is time to acknowledge how each drop feels. The sound of the water hitting the walls, the curtain, and the tiles mutes our surroundings. Bonus points if you add a cold burst at the end for as long as you can tolerate; this little bit of shock is excellent for building your resilience.
Mindful Eating and Walking
Food is our fuel and often one of our most significant expenses, yet we spend little time enjoying it. It is now common to see families eating meal separately or in front of the television or smartphones. Despite being a requirement to live, we take it for granted. Each bite deserves to be appreciated and savored. Slow down, place your utensil down between bites. Take a moment to taste, smell, and notice the texture of the food. The French devote hours daily to their meals, and we can still learn from this “Old World” way of life.
Similar to eating, walking is an everyday activity. Whether you are going down the hall or the street, pay attention to each step. Notice how your feet feel on the ground and how your legs are bending. As your hips swing, you feel the wind on your face while your back straightens.
Mindfulness while Working
Whether it’s chores, volunteering, or your job pay attention to what you are doing. When you are doing laundry, take note of how each fabric feels and smells. If you are sweeping the floor, pay attention to your movements and different feelings in your body.
Whether you’re waiting in line at a store or for the doctor in a hospital room, the act of waiting frustrates, annoys, or even angers most of us. Separate yourself from the mental and emotional aspects of waiting. Concentrate on your breathing, the way your feet feel on the ground, noticing each minute movement.
Communication is a vital part of every relationship. Issues related to communication are cited as one of the top reasons marriages fail. In a world full of distractions, being truly present in the moment with our loved ones becomes challenging. Conversely, practicing mindful listening enhances relationships at home and work. Thus, allowing us to connect and deepen relationships.
Think back to a time when you told a close friend something significant to get it off your chest. It is very likely, whether they realized it or not, that friend was practicing mindful listening. However, it is more common that people listen with the intent of responding, not understanding.
When it comes to listening mindfully, pay attention to not only their words but also their body language while giving your full attention.
Practicing mindfulness integrates into every aspect of life. When you stay in the moment, it allows you to be the captain of your ship. Giving your all to the now, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating some imaginary future event, is empowering.
I commit to meditating and being mindful every day.
Keep the conversation going; let us know about your commitment to being mindful!