As more of us explore ways to manage and respond to the stresses of everyday living, it can be helpful to look at approaches others have taken. One approach I have found helpful is mindfulness. Mindfulness can improve one’s physical, mental, emotional, and social health and well-being.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the act of purposefully paying attention to what is happening in the present moment without judgment. I have read many articles about self-care and mindfulness and very few offer examples of how to incorporate mindfulness-oriented activities into everyday living, besides doing yoga – which isn’t something I, personally, enjoy. After thinking about how I try to be more mindful in my daily life, I have come up with three personal tips I find helpful:
- Breathe. Remembering to breathe is really important! I know I tend to inadvertently hold my breath when I’m concentrating really hard on something or feeling stressed. Taking a few deep breaths – with your eyes closed if possible – can help your body become calm, lower shoulders if they’re elevated, restore proper posture, and return your body to it’s natural resting state.
- Tap into your own energy. This may sound a little new agey, but in Eastern theory, your energy supply originates from the dantian – a spot just below your belly button. While taking a few breaths, focus on your dantian. I normally imagine a glowing little ball there. As I direct my breath towards this area, I start to imagine that ball growing with my energy and after four or five breaths, sending energy and light throughout the rest of my body.
- Be present. It’s so easy to be pulled in a hundred different directions – especially with our smartphones and other devices connecting us to everything – but when you’re with another person or group, try to put all of your technology aside. Keep it in your pocket or your bag and not on the table looking right at you. Be present with those you are with and connect with real people. This applies to experiences both at work and in your personal life. By being present and with the individual(s) right in front of me, I have found I build stronger relationships and enjoy more new experiences.
I don’t think these tips are anything new or revolutionary, but I find these simple reminders and practices are a good way to continue building my mindfulness practice. Read more of Mishka’s thoughts on Self-Care.
What are some of your day-to-day practices that help you to be mindful?