“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Mindfulness is a vague concept.
It varies for everyone and is not necessarily experienced in the same manner. For some mindfulness is the art of not overstressing the little details and living in the now. To never dwell on the mistakes of the past or the anxiety about the future, it simply means to enjoy what is today, in the present and the moment. And yet for some, mindfulness connotes the ability to pay attention in a particular way, in essence, to do it nonjudgmentally. However, in a perpetually busy world, it can be rather easy to over-complicate simple stuff, and when this occurs, stress ensues. But the reality is mindfulness can actually be applied at any points of the day even if such particular activity is routinely done—the truth is mindfulness is not disregarded while we are brushing our teeth, catching up with an old friend or even waiting for our rides. In fact, these are all welcome avenues for applying mindfulness, living in the present and concentrating on the now.
It is often in habitual activities that we find ourselves switching into an autopilot mode where we got too caught up and absorbed in our thoughts which would eventually be a contributing factor to stress and unhappiness. Instead, do your routine activities a bit more differently and instead of thinking of that unfinished report while digging in your cereal, take the back seat and savor your cereal, the different tastes, and textures. Should you get distracted, steer your thoughts back to the right track. There are other non-complex ways in practicing mindfulness. Here are five more ways to practice and incorporate into your everyday life.
1) Practice mindfulness the moment you wake up
Waking up being mindful and drinking in your surroundings sets the kind of mindset you will have throughout the day. Additionally, it will help set the tone of your nervous system for the reason of the day which would likely amplify other conscious thoughts and moments. Do not read the paper right away or turn the TV, check your phone or email until after you have had this designated moment.
2) Let your mind wander
It is natural for the mind to wander and that is not necessarily a bad thing. This means your mind is busy which can actually be an asset. This is advantageous as mindfulness has been thought to be promoted in a large part by the act of noticing that your mind has wandered and consciously bringing it back to the current and present time. So, do not punish yourself when your mind has wandered so long as you are conscious enough to get it right back on track.
3) Keep it short
Brains are more adaptable and would respond better to bursts of mindfulness at regular intervals in between every day rather than a lengthy session or a weekend retreat. The latter places you in a precarious position into falling back into the same routine while incorporating bouts of mindfulness every day would steadily make it a habitual activity. Twenty minutes seems to be the golden standard of measure for the sufficient time in practicing mindfulness, but starting with just a few minutes a day is alright so long as gradual increments in the length of time are made over time.
4) Be mindful even while you are waiting
Patience is a rare virtue in humans living in this century. As we are all leading fast-paced lives, are perpetually busy, waiting can be rather frustrating—which occurs more often than not in traffic jams. Though seemingly annoying, this unwelcome nuisance and encumbrance can actually be considered as an opportunity for mindfulness. So, while you are waiting for a ride, stuck in a traffic jam or anywhere at all, center your focus and attention on your breathing. Concentrate on the flow of the breath in and out of your body and disregard your impatience and irritation over the inconvenience. In this way, you are not only mindful, but you are helping yourself relax as well.
5) Learn to meditate
Mindfulness in our everyday lives is best cultivated through meditation. By practicing meditation, you would soon learn that it is the language of mindfulness, and it would help us tap into being mindful with so little effort. After all, mindfulness is not a luxury, and it requires a conscious effort from your end to be effective.