Mindfulness is one of those cultural buzzwords gaining prominence, especially in today’s fast-paced world where being busy is often seen as a badge of honour. Modern technology has made it easier than ever before to be doing one thing while focusing on another and mentally planning how to tackle the next set of activities. This unending rush to accomplish necessary tasks can cause us to lose our connection with the present moment—missing out on what we’re actually doing at that moment and how we’re feeling, which in turn causes stress and a general feeling of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Why is it important to be more mindful?
Mindfulness improves our physical and mental well-being, helping us to shift our thoughts away from our usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and become more present in our everyday lives. It helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses and paying attention on purpose without judgement.
Here’s four easy ways to tune into mindfulness throughout the day:
1. Set aside some time during the day and notice your present thoughts
We often get so caught up in our thoughts about the past or that future that we fail to notice the thoughts that we are having in the present. The idea is to simply notice your thoughts without attaching “good” or “bad” labels (no judgement). By taking a moment out to observe your thoughts, you can start to feel more present and grounded throughout your day.
2. Eat mindfully
Eating is one of those activities we tend to do on autopilot while distracted by our phones, the television, or constant conversation. This can make you miss out on the delicious taste and smell of your food, as well make you less likely to feel satisfied, because you ‘missed out’ on the fact that you just ate. Simply put, don’t attempt to do a hundred other things when you sit down to eat.
3. Connect with your senses
Your senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste – are the gateway into the present moment. If you are constantly lost in thought or your attention is all over the place, you won’t experience what your senses are picking up. By connecting with your senses, you get to live in the moment and put love and attention into the simple tasks of your day. You’ll be amazed at how much joy and peace this can bring you.
4. Listen to understand
During conversations, most of us never truly listen wholeheartedly, because we’re too busy planning what to say next or even judging what they are saying. Like the Dalai Lama famously said:
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
So next time you’re in a conversation, make it your goal to fully listen without getting lost in your thoughts and without already having planned your response.
Practising these simple exercises can help you to decrease anxiety, feel calmer, and more grounded throughout your day.
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