Mindfulness is about living in the moment because that is the only moment you have.
In this brief article I share with you simple ways to bring mindfulness into your life for calm, presence and peace of mind.
Tip #1 Pause, Notice, Breathe
We’re often rushing around, reacting, panicking, fire fighting. We need moments in our day to stop and breathe, to ground and centre. This little acronym is great for helping you do just that. I remember one student telling me she wrote it on a post-it and had it on her steering wheel, another told me he put it on his computer and loved it as no one else knew what it meant!
Mindfulness tip: At moments throughout your day:
Pause: stop what you’re doing, put everything down. Pause thinking about what you’re caught up in.
Notice: Your surroundings. What do you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell? What do you notice that you never noticed before? Be curious
Breathe: Bring your attention to your breathing; is it shallow, panicked, slow, long or something else? Gently soften your breath, you can even say the words “softening”, “opening” silently.
Tip #2 Autopilot
If I asked you what you did yesterday, how much would be able to tell me? Do you remember the commute if you had one, or the phone calls or the tasks that you got done?
Chances are you didn’t notice very much as we learn to live on autopilot and when we have the same routine every day we tend to switch off.
There are two patterns of behaviour that take us out of the moment. One is multitasking the second is autopilot. The more habitual our actions the more we kind of “go through the motions” that is autopilot and we can live our whole lives like that.
Mindfulness tip: Mix up your routine. Break habits: for e.g. If you get up in the morning and have a shower then your breakfast, get up, have a stretch, eat your breakfast and then have a shower. If you normally say no to everything, say yes. Get out for lunch. etc. That is, look for opportunities every day to do things differently
Tip #3 Your breath
You take over 20,000 breaths every day and your breath is a direct indication of your stress levels. If your breath is short and rapid then your thinking will most probably be the same. If you want to change your stress levels, you simply change your breathing pattern and rate.
Count the length of your outbreath and then your inbreath. Try to make your inhalation a little bit longer, deeper and wider. You can use the words “opening” on your inbreath and “soften” on your outbreath.
Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4 and breathe out for a count of 4. Do this for 3 or 4 minutes.
Tip #4 Look for opportunities.
Your life is probably very busy. Perhaps you have a list or maybe you have so many lists that you don’t know where to start! We are living life at a fast pace and we’re bombarded with information on a daily basis: images, videos and pictures every day via the news, facebook, Instagram, apps, you tube, etc etc. It’s showing no signs of slowing down and consequently more and more people are getting burnt out.
That is why it’s even more important to take opportunities to practice mindfulness, even if it’s just for a minute, to re-centre yourself, to calm yourself, to breathe, so that you can have moments of rest.
Mindfulness tip; Look for opportunities in your busy day to practice mindfulness. Notice your surroundings, watch a sunset, take some deep breaths outside, connect with nature, put the phone away.
Tip #5: Ditch the Multitasking
Do you do 10 things at once? Rush through a day trying to tick things off a list? Mindfulness teaches us to ditch this approach to life and single task.
A recent study by Stanford University found that when you multi-task, it takes longer, you make more mistakes, and it’s more stressful and it
Decreases effectiveness and performance
Rewires the brain
Kills overview (we literally can’t see the wood for the trees)
Reduces well-being (increases stress)
Mindfulness tip: Do 1 thing at a time. You’ll find that you’ll be more present to what you’re doing; you’ll be more efficient and more effective.
Thanks for reading and I hope these tips have given you an idea of how Mindfulness is easy to practice and can be of enormous benefit to you.