If you’ve heard the buzz around mindfulness and mindfulness meditation over the past few years, you know that it’s commonly recommended as a way to de-stress, slow down, and live more fully in the present moment. You might think it’s an activity you’d like to try sometime, but that requires a lot of research and preparation. The truth is, mindfulness is an ongoing practice—it’s a skill—that has the power to seep into all parts of your life for the better. The skills you learn in an ongoing commitment to mindfulness can increase your focus at work or in your personal life, help you cope better with stress, and feel + act with more compassion, among other benefits.
Once you set your mind to it, a mindfulness practice can added to any day—no matter how busy or chaotic life is. It does not require a lot of time, or any sort of investment. You just need to show up, give it your attention, and repeat. Here are three simple but potentially life-changing ways to weave mindfulness into your current life, that you can actually achieve.
1. Morning Mindfulness. A lot of us value quiet time in the morning, which is probably why you hear a lot of “morning routine” talk when it comes to mindfulness. Yet, with such limited time to yourself before turning your attention over to the day’s responsibilities, your own routine might look more like mindless, frenzied preparation. Think of where/how you can insert 5 more minutes into your morning (you can always add more from there). Could you wake up five minutes earlier or not hit that final snooze? Prepare your outfit or lunch the night before to free a few minutes before leaving the house? Once you find five minutes, choose one thing to focus on for that time. Whether it’s the ritual of making, pouring, and drinking your coffee, stretching in silent, or observing your breath (without trying to control it)—focusing on ONE thing in the PRESENT moment for that five minutes is a practice of mindfulness in and of itself. Not so scary, right?
2. Meditation Apps. There are tons of mindfulness apps out there so don’t get discouraged if you don’t fall in love with the first one you find—it’s all about the approach that works for you. Some of them will send you a notification throughout the day when it’s time to take a break for some deep breathing or meditation. Others, like Headspace, not only provide guided meditations (including those you can do at work!) but more of an educational experience designed to promote a long-term mindfulness meditation practice.
3. Bring awareness to the ways you multitask. Mindfulness is not so much about “clearing your head” as it is giving all your attention to what is going on in the present moment. That’s pretty tough to do if you’re spending all your time multitasking, not to mention future-planning and past-dwelling. Take a few minutes to think back on your past day or week and choose one area of your day that you always multitask within. Perhaps it’s at work, with 10 tabs open, 5 emails in progress, and a podcast on. Or a habit we all have these days—scrolling through Instagram while watching TV (and possibly “spending time” with family).
Once you’ve begun to observe those multitasking moments, you can choose one to dismantle and re-approach. Do one thing after another, not all at once. Cut out what doesn’t actually need to pull your attention at this moment. And when urgent matters do pull your attention, let them, but don’t bring everything else with you at this time.
Once you get used to multitasking less, it’s likely you’ll find you’re actually more productive, or at least a whole lot less stressed out!
Have you attempted a mindfulness practice before? Would you like to read more on the subject? Let us know your thoughts!
Thank you Amber. I needed this to help transition from work to retirement! Now to put it to task!