In this day and age, there are so many ways that we can disconnect from the present moment, that our activities have become mindless at times. Recently, I have made it a habit to become more mindful, but I’m not talking about the stereotypical meditation sessions or yoga retreats. Being mindful simply means connecting more with the present. In doing so, our relationships with ourselves and others can improve. Here are the first steps that you can take towards living mindfully.
How to Be More Mindful:
The easiest way that you can incorporate mindfulness is in the activities you already do. This can include tasks like driving, eating, showering, walking, or even folding laundry. Even better, try incorporating this when you are waiting in line. The key is to be present, engage with the task, and feel in touch with your surroundings. The next time you make breakfast, try focusing on its aroma, how it feels in your hand, and its textures. You will start to notice new things around you, find creativity, and ultimately self-reflect.
A great way to be in tune with your headspace and emotions is to take a few minutes dedicated to being mindful. With your eyes relaxed or closed, pay attention to your breathing and what’s on your mind. To take this step to another level, try diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe in through your nose for a few seconds, and then exhale through pursed lips. This is one of my favorite ways to relieve stress by expanding your lungs and lowering your heart rate. You can do this lying down in bed before sleeping or sitting up in a chair during the day. Ultimately, the benefit comes from the quality of time rather than its length, so don’t push yourself. However, over time you will find it becomes easier and easier to remain mindful for longer intervals. Afterward, expect to feel more relaxed, clear-headed, and ready to focus on subsequent tasks.
Put Down the Phone
Part of being present means taking away our favorite distraction, the smartphone. I’ll admit, the temptation to check my notifications is strong, but it detracts from what I am feeling or doing. In moments that you choose to be mindful, try to resist the urge to connect with things that are not part of your present. When you’re with family or being productive, put your phone on airplane mode. In being truly present, you’ll realize how much you have been missing.
I know how easy it is to focus on the negative events that occur each day. They seem to be the first things that come to mind when you reflect on how your day went. Part of mindfulness and working towards improving mental wellbeing is being aware of the positive and expressing gratitude. I like to keep a gratitude journal for logging three things that I am grateful for each day. Try to think about specific instances that impacted you personally and even find light in the negative. For example, maybe missing your exit allowed you to spend more time listening to your audiobook. You’ll come to learn what is important to you and foster positive connections. Best of all, this attitude of seeking out the good will only benefit your future wellbeing.