It’s easy to get distracted by our thoughts and feelings. We’re often lost in what’s not happening right now instead of focusing on what is. This leads to unhappiness, stress, depression, and an overall sense of negativity.
Mindfulness is a powerful practice that forces us to be aware of the present moment – the external world and the inner world of our thoughts and feelings. It can lead to a happier life if practiced regularly alongside meditation.
Mindfulness is essentially about paying attention – to the NOW. Practicing mindfulness brings us back into our bodies and ourselves – the only place where authentic, long-lasting happiness resides. In more detail, mindfulness is about:
- Being present and paying attention to our surroundings.
- Detaching from past and future thoughts and reducing obsessive worrying and overthinking – which can cause anxiety and depression.
- Observing our senses, thoughts, and emotions without judgment – which helps us cultivate peace, acceptance and clarity.
- Developing self-awareness – being more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
- Choosing our response to situations – helping us to make better choices.
- Becoming more thoughtful, compassionate, and empathetic – to ourselves and those around us.
Mindfulness is innate – we were born with the ability to practice it. If you have lost the natural ability to be mindful, due to leading a high-paced life on autopilot, you can still cultivate it.
Living mindfully means living deliberately, paying attention to what is happening around you and inside you at any given moment. It’s essential to be aware of our thoughts and actions. Bringing non-judgmental attention to them is vital, no matter what they may be like. One way to practice mindfulness is through meditation, but there are many other ways, like going for a walk with your full attention on your surroundings or taking the time to eat slowly and methodically.
Developing the ability to live more mindfully can help you:
- Replace unconscious and rushed habits or reactions with more conscious and thoughtful responses and reactions.
- Relax physically as you start to become more aware of your body and what it’s trying to tell you.
- Reduce stress and anxiety as you stop worrying about the future and reliving the past.
- Promote peaceful and harmonious relationships as you develop empathy and compassion.
- Increase productivity and performance at work and home as you learn to focus on what matters.
- Enhance focus and concentration as you clear the mind chatter.
- Cultivate self-confidence and resilience as you begin to understand your emotions.
- Identify unhealthy thinking patterns and replace them with more positive ones.
Each day we have countless opportunities to practise mindfulness. Here are some every day tips for work and home. Download my “Tips for Living Mindfully” for more or subscribe to receive my Quick Guide to Mindfulness Meditation.
- Making your bed – notice the colours or patterns in your blanket or duvet cover.
- Feeding pets – notice the gratitude with which they receive their food.
- Cooking – notice the individual texture and smells of the things you are cutting and cooking.
- At your next family meal, make everyone change positions from their usual seat at the table – you will be surprised at how much more alert you feel!
- Slow your eating down and chew each mouthful for a count of 10.
- Start your day by writing a to do list – keep it achievable and things that need to be done that day only.
- Turn off your notifications – they interrupt your flow.
- Don’t take devices to meetings – bring your whole attention.
- Really listen during conversations – to clients, colleagues, suppliers, etc.
- Stop trying to multitask – close all those tabs and focus on one thing at a time. You will be so much more efficient and productive.