It’s not always easy to stay in the present. We live in a time where we’re generally focused on either the past or the future.
But learning to be present, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day can have an incredible impact on our overall wellbeing. In fact, to emphasize the benefits of present thinking, you’ll notice that positive emotions are mostly felt in the present. Whereas if you try to think of a negative emotion you had recently, whether that be anger, fear or anxiety… they are all associated with thinking about the past or the future.
So basically what we can take away from this is that mindful living leads to a happier life!
8 simple ways to add more mindfulness to your every day:
1. Change your focus to doing one thing at a time:
Life is not a to-do list…it is meant to be enjoyed! From someone who feeds off productivity, I understand how easy it is to be prone to multi-tasking and rushing just to finish my list of to-do items. The term “multitasking” has become an asset in today’s society, having the ability to accomplish many things at once saves time after all. (right..?) But when we focus on one thing at a time, we’re more capable of catching mistakes, noticing details and being more aware of our motivations behind what we’re doing, and all while being more mindful!
2. Come to your senses:
Where I find myself most detail-oriented and immersed in my senses is when I’m travelling. I’ll take a moment to really take in and observe the little things- the curve of the hills, how the water is glimmering, the arch of a doorway, the play of light in a room. But doing the same in our most mundane, everyday activities is a great way to adopt the practice of mindfulness. While working out, focus on your moves, feel how your muscles are moving and your pattern of breathing. While folding laundry, notice how the fabrics feel in your hands and where the wrinkles and creases lie. You’ll find yourself in a whole new world, no travelling needed!
3. Eat mindfully:
Don’t kid yourself now, we’ve all had times where we eat with our laptop in front of us, our phone in hand, or with the TV on. (or all of the above…guilty!) And during most of those times, you probably weren’t aware of how much you ate, or continued eating even though you were past full. Eating food should be an enjoyable and pleasant experience.
Unfortunately, with our busy lives, family, jobs and distractions, it can get somewhat difficult to sit down to just eat mindfully and not do anything else. Mindful eating can help really connect us with our bodies and improve digestion. (even promote weight loss!) Try taking smaller bites and savour each one. (using a smaller spoon and putting the spoon down every bite should help!) Really notice the colours, textures and taste of the food before eating them. Sit down with family and friends instead of technological devices while eating and enjoy all the benefits that come from mindful eating!
4. Connect with others
Listening is something we do all the time. Mindful or attentive listening, on the other hand, is something we may not do often enough. We’ve all been guilty of using our phones or reading a text that pops up while someone is talking to you. Phones and other distractions can get in the way of mindful listening. You’ll be amazed at the power of taking the time to ask people how they are and to really listen to what they have to say. If you try to focus all your attention on the other person, this act of love and kindness can go a long way. You may find that the more you listen mindfully to others, the better your relationships may become too!
5. Nothing time
You don’t have to know how to meditate to practise mindfulness. Instead, spending just five minutes doing nothing at all. (It still counts!) We live in a time where everything
I find that the hardest time for me to stay mindful is when I’m on social media. (Sorry Instagram!) Social media is flooded with images, captions and information sharing people’s best moments. It makes it easy to compare ourselves to others and get caught up in a negative thinking loop. Try to unplug for at least an hour each day. (or if you’re feeling up to the challenge try taking off a whole weekend!) Give yourself some time to just be with yourself-no distractions.
7. Start an evening ritual
Mindfulness can be practised in all parts of your day, but I like to practise it especially just before settling down in bed. In fact, having a mindful evening routine is one of the best ways to feel relaxed before bed! This would be a great time to unplug and enjoy some relaxing activities like having a cup of tea, reading a book, or taking a bath. Start getting into the habit of spending some mindful time before bed!
Related post: The Ultimate Bedtime Routine for a Better Sleep
We talked about listening mindfully to others, but it’s also equally important if not more, to listen to yourself. We’re not robots who are programmed to do things every day. (At least not yet
But what exactly should we be thinking about when we self-reflect? Self-reflection can be anything from journaling about your day, thinking about the kind of life you want to live, or even just thinking of what you’re grateful for. Keeping a journal is a great tool for self-reflection!