In our busy modern lives where we have so much going on, we are constantly on a treadmill, moving from A to B going nowhere; it’s no wonder we feel uninspired and unfulfilled. We see the big picture and strive for that, but forget the small things along the way that make up the big picture. The journey there is just as important, if not more important than the end goal itself. Life is the small moments. So we should learn to appreciate them.
Learning to be still and quiet, and appreciating what we already have in our lives is pivotal in determining how we view our life, and in turn creating our life how we want it to be. Practicing mindfulness can help us do that.
Mindfulness can seem foreign to us, difficult and way beyond us. But it is really simple. All mindfulness really is is being present in the present, being able to think, feel and experience the now. It needn’t be complicated. Here are some tips you can practice to help you:
1. Become aware of your thoughts and feelings.
An easy method to do this is to become aware of the of thought you just had, that you observed – for example label a negative thought – you actually think about how you had a negative thought. As strange as that sounds that is how you become mindful of your thinking. With practise you become more aware of when you are thinking those negative thoughts and you will be able to stop them in their tracks and change course. The more you do this, the easier it will be to control your thoughts and feelings, especially the bad ones that seem to perpetuate if you allow them to.
Remember if you are able to observe your own thoughts, you are not your thoughts. You are of some higher consciousness greater than your negative emotions of fear and doubt. Alway choose positivity, gratitude and love.
2. Don’t multitask.
Focus at the task at hand, one task at a time. It’s better doing less things and doing it well, than attempt several things with less than one hundred percent. Concentrate each day on completing your most important tasks.
When you you are rush and panicking, trying to do something as quick as you can, become aware that you are feeling panic, and remind yourself that things will not get done faster by rushing and panicking.
Spending a few more minutes doing something well will not be a waste of time nor will it be time lost for other things. In the long run, doing things well the first time has a lot more return than doing something half-heartedly. You have enough time to complete what is important.
3. Be mindful when doing every day tasks.
Whether it’s washing the dishes, folding clothes or walking somewhere, just focus on that – the present. When you catch yourself thinking about other thoughts, all your worries and problems; observe and label them as explained previously, and return your attention to the present. Make sure not to multitask, even when doing seemingly mundane tasks. If you are doing washing dishes, do that only. Become aware of the the physical sensations you feel – what you see, hear, smell, how you are breathing and naturally you will think mindful thoughts of the present. Becoming mindful of the present in every opportunity trains the mind to calm down and become peaceful, tames the negative inner voice and cultivates a mindset of gratitude.
Meditation can take all sorts of forms. The easiest is way of mindfulness practise is the mindfulness of breath. Find a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. Quieten your mind by noticing your breath, take deep breathes from your stomach (not shallow chest breathing), observe the way your body feels, the way your breath enters and leaves your body. Your thoughts may wander but when you remember that you are supposed to be focusing on breath; bring your attention back to your breathing. Simply acknowledge the thoughts, let them pass and return to focusing on your breath. Mindfulness practise like this can have a huge profound effect on your life. It is difficult at first but worth it in the end, your life will be different for it. So keep at it.
This may seem odd but there is much mindfulness in tidying. Declutter your belongings and declutter your mind. Your living space is a representation of your mental state. And the physical movements of folding, placing items and sweeping have a methodical, therapeutic and calming effect in themselves.
The more you practise mindfulness, the more calm and at peace you will feel and the more you can appreciate life in the moment. This is so important because really, you only have one life to live, and the only time that you have is now, the present moment.
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