Mindfulness is a concept that is all about living in the present, being conscious of the things that are going on around us, including being aware of our thoughts and actions. It’s about recognising the little blessings that happen to us every day (things that we consciously do, but sub-consciously take for granted) and not letting life pass us by with our faces in our phones.
We’ve all been guilty of “Ahh yeah” and “Mmm hmm-ing” to a friend when they’re telling us a story, our thoughts really with our latest match on tinder or yesterday’s avocado toast. It happens to the best of us and we can’t always give everyone 100% of our attention, but with the steady rise of social media and technology, it’s sometimes hard to just appreciate the moment for what it is. It’s important to pay attention to what people are saying to you. By being mindful, we are more likely to have healthier and more meaningful social relationships with others.
We have opportunities all throughout our day be more mindful of our behaviours and being more present in the moment. Without further ado, here are five suggestions you can practice mindfulness throughout the day to lead a more mindful and present existence.
1. Upon waking
Fact: we are always busy. Have you ever felt overwhelmed when the first thing that creeps in to your mind upon waking is how frantic the day ahead of you will be? Stop for a moment. Commit to just ‘being’. Start your day slowly, with this mantra: There is nowhere more important for you to be than right here, right now.
2. At your morning meeting/class
Remember as a child you would question everything? Why? Why? Why? It’s time to go back to your roots. Question everything. Ask “Why?” Why am I doing this? Why are we working on this campaign? Why do I feel like pizza for lunch? Asking why, and questioning your motives, encourages you to go deeper and become more aware of what’s driving you, and whether or not you want it to be driving you.
3. At lunchtime
When you’re hungry (or worse, hangry) nothing is going to stop you from inhaling your food, not even stopping to chew. The next time you go to eat an amazing meal, not only think about the output these amazing nutrients will give you, but take a moment to give thanks and pay gratitude for the ability to eat, and thanks to the individuals who contributed to making it all happen. Use lunchtime to relax and regroup. Listen to your body and thoughts and be mindful to correct these to a more positive outlook, or if you have a problem think about steps you can take to solve it.
4. On your way home from school or work
Use alone time as an opportunity to be more mindful. Whether you are walking home from school, or in the car driving home – turn off your radio and take out your headphones. Reminisce on moments of your day – what were the positives? When you’ve stopped at a red light or at a station, use the time to take deep breaths. Inhale for 6 counts and exhale for 8. You’ll thank yourself for having this opportunity to just breathe
5. Before bed
How often do you promise yourself an early bedtime, only to reach for your phone or computer, trolling social media until it’s well into the night?
Allocate a block of time that’s completely technology free before you go to sleep. It will set you up for a more peaceful, mindful sleep. Focus on your body letting drift off and make a conscious effort not to analyse the day that’s just been, or the day you have ahead of you.
Practising all (or even just one) of these steps throughout your day may not seem like much, but they will add fullness and peace to your life. If you can stay more focused throughout the day, focused on the present, your day will feel brighter and more gratifying, and so will your life.