Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Being mindful is something I have been practicing for years. Yet, I still struggle with it. It came so naturally as a child. Now as an adult, mindfulness is something I have to do consciously.
Too often, I get lost in being busy and feel overwhelmed by my list of “all the things that need to get done”. This is when I remind myself to stop, breath, and focus on the present moment.
What is mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”
9 simple ways to practice daily mindfulness
1 – Let your mind wander
Although being mindful is all about being in the present moment, it’s also good to let your mind wander. Daydreaming about fantasies and other desirable events helps make connections between our own inner mind and the world outside. It is believed that letting our imagination go may make us more mindful and helps us have a positive outlook on life.
2 – Laugh
Refuse to get wrapped up and carried away by the constant tug of the emotions. To be able to laugh at ourselves is associated with elevated mood, cheerful personality, and a sense of humor. In turn, having a sense of humor helps us cope better with our troubles and downs. Laughing also brings us to the present moment.
3 – Mindful eating
Practice listening to your body. What does it want and need? How hungry is it? Consciously nourish yourself with healthy food. Prepare your meal with love and care. Eat slow, take the time to savor what you’re eating, and take smaller bites to allow better digestion. Notice the taste, the smell, and texture of your food.
4 – Allow yourself to feel
Don’t always try to look on the bright side. Accept all of your emotions. The positive AND the negative. You need to feel the negative emotions to truly let them go. Pushing them down will only lead to physical, mental and emotional issues. It’s simply not healthy.
If you need a good cry, or need to scream, find a safe place and go. Allow yourself to acknowledge, to accept, and to feel the emotion. Then, let it go; don’t hold on to it. Create a healthy balance by experiencing each emotion… good and bad.
5 – Be present
When is the last time you “really” looked into the eyes of the person you are interacting with? When you are with someone, be in the moment…. Be with that person. Put your phone on silent and place it where it won’t distract you with blinking lights. Make eye contact with the person you are with. Making eye contact helps develop and maintain a stronger connection with the person we are with.
6 – Breath
This one is short and simple. Anytime you feel stressed, anxious, angry or scared… take a full minute to just breath. “Be mindful of your breathing”. Inhale slowly and deeply from the belly. Think of filling your belly first, then your lungs. No shallow breathing. On the exhale, imagine slowly emptying your lungs first, and then your belly. I promise you will feel calmer.
7 – Unitask… it’s a thing.
Multitasking is the enemy of focus… and honestly, it’s more of a myth. By multitasking, we don’t actually get anything done. We’re just spending our time in “divided attention”, keeping us from truly living in the now. Once interrupted, it takes on average 23 minutes to get our focus back on task… What a waste of precious time.
8 – Driving
Does your mind control you? Do you fall into autopilot, arriving to your destination without remembering the drive? Practice mindful driving by being continuously aware of your body, of what you see, and of what you hear. When your mind wanders, and it will, bring it back by focusing on those three things. Focus on feeling your body on the seat, your foot on the pedal, what you see on the road ahead, and the sounds that you hear. Our minds are scary, busy places. By having control of your mind, you can relax, focus, and function more effectively.
9 – Last but not least: Meditating
Tuning into your innermost thoughts is important to find peace within your mind. To be mindful. For many, feeling stressed leads to emotional eating. Not to mention that stress increases the body’s production of cortisol (stress hormone), shown to cause fat storage.
Take 10 minutes in the morning and evenings to clear your mind and focus on your breathing from the diaphragm (deep belly breathing).
What I share in this posts are things I practice myself. I hope it helps, even if just a little. 🙂
Yours in health, Nancy Shimmy