It’s such a simple sentence, but take a moment to read it again. It sounds like the opposite to how most of us live today, doesn’t it? Our attention is pulled from here to there with overloaded schedules, phones and never ending mind chatter. Imagine how it would feel to stop living on autopilot and really soak up the joy of living each day.
Now, I’m a practical person and so I’m all for taking a realistic approach to things. I know that we can’t all throw away our day planners and spend our entire day being rather than doing. But, I do believe that we can all invite mindfulness into our day by finding a few moments to pause; time to unplug and be present.
We can all find a few minutes, can’t we? I know that it’s easy to think that a couple of minutes can’t possibly make a difference but I disagree. It’s simple habits like this that make all the difference to how you feel and that changes the direction of your path. And, over time the benefits are endless; they include...
- Lowers anxiety and stress levels
- Controls blood pressure
- Helps you to let go of your ego
- Builds feelings of gratitude
- Improves focus
- Cultivates spiritual growth
More focus, less ego and reduced stress? There aren’t many of us who would turn that down. But, if you’re new to the idea of mindfulness and are wondering where to start and still unsure of how to fit it into your day, then here are a few tips that i’ve found useful along the way…
There was a time that even the suggestion of pausing would have filled me with anxiety; I thought that kind of thing was for other people - little did i know back then! And, I know from the messages that I get, a lot of you still find it a challenge to pause. My advice is always to start with the natural pauses in your day; there are quite a lot of them if you look; queuing for coffee, waiting for the kids to finish school or even visiting the bathroom! They’re all opportunities to check in with ourselves, see how we’re feeling and course correct if our day has got a little off track.
Follow Your Breath
Even if you don’t follow a regular meditation practice you can still benefit from becoming more conscious of your breath. It can provide a anchor for us even in our most stressful moments and because it’s always there we can harness it to help us feel more present in our day. Try it now, take a deep breath and fill up your belly and lungs – hold it for a second or two and then let it go. Doesn’t it feel good? Do it a couple more times and then focus on your natural breath moving in and out for another few moments. It’s simple but it has such a calming effect, it helps to reduce anxiety and creates a mindful moment in your day.
Connect with your Senses
Experience a moment through one primary sense; pause, close your eyes and focus on everything that you can hear right now, just listen for a while and try not to label anything - you don’t have to think about what each sound is - simply experience it. Now, that can take a little practice and so don’t berate yourself if your mind doesn’t slow down right away. Try doing the same with your other senses
Do you regularly eat lunch at your desk or while scrolling through your phone? No judgement, we’ve all done it but I think that food is one of life’s most simple pleasures and that it deserves our full attention. Not only does slowing down to enjoy our food feel so much better but it’s been shown to create healthy digestion and encourage weight loss. So, create a little space around your mealtimes, turn off distractions and really experience your food; look at it, smell it and eat slowly, mindfully tasting each bite - while you’re there i think it’s good to connect to a little gratitude for it too.
Focus on one task at a time
The days of multitasking are over! I know, I was reluctant to let it go too. For years, I thought it was the only way to get things done. But, I promise that once you’ve experienced the joy of uninterrupted focus; taking one task at a time, you’ll be ready to burn that multi-tasking badge of honour! Distractions have an addictive nature and so don’t worry if your mind tries to challenge you. Mine still does it but you soon learn to turn down the volume and keep your attention in one place. Trust me, this is worth your time and you’ll reap so many rewards by mindfully completing one task at a time.
There’s nothing holding you back from inviting mindfulness into your day, it can be enjoyed in the natural pauses in your day, you don't need anything special to get started; there are no classes or expensive equipment needed - it's absolutely free! Start today and I promise you’ll feel the benefits in no time.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.