In our current society we have gotten pretty good at multitasking, but as we’ve learned the best ways to maximize productivity, we’ve gotten worse at mindfulness. It might not seem like something that matters, but not having a daily mindfulness practice can exasperate feelings of anxiousness, anxiety, anger, and impatience.
Need to be more mindful? Here are 4 things to incorporate into your life to get you started!
This may seem like the most obvious activity we think of when we think of mindfulness. Even if you can carve out at least a few minutes a day, a daily meditation practice can be so helpful. If possible, try to practice at the same time every day to create a routine that’ll be easy to stick to. New to meditation? There are so many apps out there both free and paid. I personally use Insight Timer, which has a ton of free meditations of various lengths and themes.
This may take you back to your Judy Blume reading days, but there is nothing more mindful than the introspection of writing down your thoughts. It could be anything: a dream you had last night, a to-do list for the week, a goal you may have, or just a free flow of thoughts from mind, to pen, to paper. This habit can really free up your mind of thought and help you be more present.
Take a walk without your earbuds. Listen to the sound of the birds and the wind blowing. Feel the breeze on your skin. Maybe you just sit in your yard or the park with a book. This can be a wonderful way to be mindful and present in the moment. No music, no podcasts.
Sounds simple but for those who have had a conversation with someone that was clearly not paying attention, or just waiting for their turn to speak, we know that listening is a skill. Sometimes I think listening is a lost art, especially in these divisive times we live in. Next time you are in conversation, challenge yourself to truly listen to the other person, free of thought.
A yoga class is the perfect place to sharpen this skill! Try closing your eyes and fully listen to the teacher, without looking at them or anyone else in class.
Put The Phone Down
As someone who is too old to have grown up with a smartphone, I worry about the effect it will have on younger generations. Even as an adult they are so addictive, and the anthesis of mindfulness. Try to have times of the day where you do not look at your phone at all. Put it on “Do Not Disturb” overnight and don’t even look at it until you at least perform your morning rituals (meditation or journaling perhaps?) Also, try not to look at your phone until at least an hour before bed, and if you are doing any other tasks throughout the day (yard work, reading, eating) experiment being phone free by leaving it in another room.