Why should we aim for mindfulness in our daily routines?
The best answer I can think of is also the simplest, a mindful presence creates heightened awareness of what we do in each moment. That applies to everything in our daily lives: The relationships we have, the work we do, the environments that we find ourselves in, and our productivity levels.
Its no big secret that one of the best ways to comprehend a concept is to apply it to our day to day activities. It’s small changes, through practical means, that have the biggest impact. Below are some easy ways to start being more mindful right now:
1. Practice right when you wake up.
Practicing mindfulness when you first awaken each morning helps set the rhythm of your nervous system for the rest of your day. According to this Harvard Study, this simple practice increases the likelihood of other mindful moments. I personally use a practice from my Raja Yoga book, by Swami Vivekananda to envision the ocean, so I can meditate in the mornings.
Sometimes meditation or stretching can make me want to jump back into bed, but I resist. I am training my mind to say “breakfast time” after my mindfulness routine. I am working so hard to not check my phone or email, read the paper, turn on the TV, or anything else, until after I have breakfast. All it takes is around 15 minutes. If I can do it, so can you.
2. Enjoy what you eat
When I eat I practice a 5,000 year old trick from the Vedas. I would like to give you a brief introduction to Ayurveda (you get to learn a little Sanskrit too) ayur – life or longevity, and veda science or knowledge. So, in a nutshell, Ayurveda is the science of a healthy life. So this is the simple trick – take a moment to enjoy the texture and the taste of the food you are consuming! The benefit? You’ll be more satisfied with less food and more likely to notice other subtleties throughout the day.
Not only does being mindful of what we are tasting and ingesting make us more focused and grateful, but it aides in digestion. Who wants to get back to work with indigestion? That is what we will focus on. our tummies may not allow us to ignore their grumbles. When we guzzle down our food we tend to be hungry again sooner.
I recommend not to make a habit of eating at our desks. If you can only spare 15 minutes bring yourself a meal that you can prepare and eat in those 15 minutes. Yogurt and/or hummus with fruits and veggies are balanced “quick meals”.
3. Disconnect to Reconnect
At every opportunity we jump on our phones. We get to a meeting 2 minutes early and think “perfect time to check my Instagram”. Or we are at a restaurant waiting for our meal to come, and decide to check our emails. Take those 2 minutes to breathe, or even to enjoy the taste of your beverage – sip by sip. Let’s face it we have to multitask to keep ourselves competitive. We don’t have to do it constantly in EVERY aspect of our lives.
Sounds simple, work smarter and live happier by withstanding the twin evils of temptation: to be “always on” and to multi-task in our multi-screen, always connected (yet disconnected) world. Practice mindfulness while you wait instead of letting an electronic device take up your mindspace. In our fast-paced lives, waiting is a big source of frustration – whether you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. While it may seem like a nuisance, waiting is actually an opportunity for mindfulness, When you’re waiting, bring your attention to your breathe, our next pragmatic application.
4. Slow down, stop & smell the roses.
Stop, be in the moment, breathe. How often do we forget to do this? Have you ever been somewhere and missed something like a work of art hanging right in front of you? Sucks when you have to travel over the Atlantic to not miss it next time….
Take a moment, and it really does just take a moment, to be aware of your surroundings. If you take a moment to stop and smell the roses, you’ll have more appreciation for all the beauty and abundance that life has to offer.
Another neat trick – it take only three deep breaths deep from your belly before and after every conversation, to make you more present during the conversation and clear your mind after. Another bonus of those mindful breathes is it can help you maintain a positive posture.
5. Take a hike! (MY FAVORITE)
There are healthy ways to multitask while practicing mindfulness. My favorite way is to hike while listening to an audio book or motivational speech. You get the benefits of exercise, fresh air, the opportunity to be mindful of your beautiful surroundings, and learn something new. I do make sure to take a break and just have silence too so I can be present fully. The Japanese call this Shinrin yoku which translates to “Forest Bathing”.
Mindful people know that simply going for a walk can be excellent way to calm the mind, increase focus, and gain new perspective to facilitate greater awareness. Ancient Greeks had a term for this too, Solvitur ambulando, which is Latin for “it is solved by walking.”
There is scientific evidence walking through green spaces can actually put the brain into a meditative state, according to a 2013 UK study. The act of walking in a peaceful outdoor landscape was found to trigger “involuntary attention,” meaning that it holds attention while also allowing for reflection.
There are many more ways to be more mindful in our daily lives, but these 5 applications are a terrific start. What are your favorite simple ways to do things throughout the day that make a difference in being more mindful? Please comment below.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
~ Jack Kornfield
Peace, Love & Dandelions,