What is this fantastic buzzword? It seems so obvious, yet why are monks stressing the importance of it as if we don’t really understand what it means?
Mindfulness is being here, now. Fully present in the moment, taking in the sensations of your surrounding environment as you observe the way your mind and body respond.
You do all of it without judgment.
The difficulty in the task isn’t in trying to be mindful. The challenge comes from trying to be mindful all the time. The beauty of practicing mindfulness and incorporating it into your daily life gets easier with time. Master mindfulness and your quality of life will improve immensely.
It’s more simple to incorporate than you think.
Here are tips on how to bring mindfulness into your day-to-day life:
Put Your Gadgets Away
Building discipline around being mindful means managing your mental energy well.
When we have just woken or are going to bed, we are typically in our lowest energy states and are prone to making poor decisions. A poor decision that’s socially acceptable and even encouraged? Staying up to look at social media instead of getting quality sleep.
Put yourself in a successful position by putting away smartphones and other electronic devices an hour before bed, and trying not to touch them again until an hour after you’re awake.
This will guarantee you two hours a day where you are disconnected from electronic devices. You can use this time to conquer the world with 14 more hours a week to do what you personally want to achieve.
Your Spending Habits Matter
Shopping is more than buying things with your money.
Realize that you are telling the universe, “this is what I want.” Be mindful of each purchase, whether big or small. You are essentially buying things that either distract you or help you at the end of the day.
Be honest with yourself here.
When you make your next purchase, whether it’s a car or candy bar, take a second to observe how you feel about the decision. Asking yourself questions about how you feel during the process of purchasing items is a great way to filter unwanted distractions from entering your life.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude is humbling yourself in the presence of your life.
It means taking the time to realize and say how thankful you are for what you have. This is an easy step that you shouldn’t skip. Scientists have been studying gratitude journaling for years and have come to the conclusion that it is of immense importance to achieving satisfaction in life.
What gratitude brings to mindfulness is an edge of understanding that life is a blessing in every moment. It helps us to change our perspective from one of lack to one of abundance and mindfulness is the key to persevering through this change.
Eat Light With Small Bites
Eating is an activity that involves willpower. It is a process that starts long before you chew and swallow your food and being mindful of the process will help promote mindfulness in you.
You must come to understand that food isn’t the superficial qualities of presentation and taste. It is information that communicates with our cells, our body, and even our mind.
A machine can only run efficiently when given the best possible information. If it is given bad lubricant, the gears are told to grind and eventually stop. If it is given bad oil, it ages more quickly and produces less efficiently. This is true of our bodies as well!
Being mindful while eating means you only pick up your sandwich when you’ve finished chewing the last bite, and you chew each bite until it is fully masticated. This means your food, and the information it holds, will have the greatest chance of being synthesized. In other words, you will eat less, your food will do more for you, and the mindfulness you have practiced in this moment will build momentum in others.
Learning to Breathe Correctly
Breathing is one of the most overlooked aspects of being alive. It happens naturally so most of us believe we are inherently good at it and it would come as a surprise to most that they breathe incorrectly for most of their day.
Let’s think about that for a second. If we breathe correctly, we provide energy to our body, clarity to our mind, regulatory processes run efficiently, hormones are balanced, and we will be in an overall state of bliss–just ask any master meditator. If we are breathing incorrectly, we are forming bad postural habits, stressing ourselves unnecessarily, and draining ourselves of energy. It’s two very different stories.
Take a minute to just breathe. Notice how long it takes you to naturally breathe in and out. To breath naturally, try this exercise. Put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. When you breathe in, the hand on your chest should never move. Only the hand on your stomach should move. Practice this for a few minutes every day and you will be telling the universe you want to have natural breathing to bolster your mindfulness.
Clean Your Slate, Meditate
To remain mindful in the active parts of our life, it is best to build the habit in a calm environment first. Meditating is the way in which we hit the universal pause button on our life and step back from the moment to observe, reflect, and learn from our surroundings. Meditation has various methods to be explored and schools to study under, but you don’t have to stress yourself out with all of that. Find something that you vibe with, such as guided meditations on your commute, or free YouTube videos. You may be happily surprised with how many different types of meditations there are to explore.
Meditation improves mindfulness by creating a baseline emotional level that allows you to know when something is off. You can then utilize your mindfulness to change the course of your thinking to balance your emotions back to where you want them to be. This is where the real power of being alive comes into play.
When you master being mindful, the world is your oyster.