Mindfulness is the new black. No, but seriously. That word gets thrown around all the time as a cure-all. Oh, you have anxiety? Be more mindful. Want to lose weight? Just eat more mindfully!
Okay, great! But what the f*** does it actually mean to be mindful? And if it’s so great, then why don’t I know how to do it?
Well, let me break it down for you.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the idea that you are fully present, conscious and living 100% in the present moment.
For example, we sit down to eat our lunch while we’re also scrolling through instagram, talking to a friend on speaker phone and staring at our computer screen. In that scenario are we fully present to experience our delicious lunch? NO. And that is a great example of not being mindful.
Now let’s jump to scenario two. We sit down to lunch with just our food and a fork. Our phone is put away, our computer screens are closed, and we are solely focused on eating our meal. We taste everything, and focus on what we’re putting into our mouths. That is an example of being fully present and mindful to the moment.
And the good news, you can bring this element of mindfulness, awareness + presence to any task.
Why should I practice Mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness has so many benefits. It an reduce stress + anxiety, help you understand your emotions, put you in control of your thoughts and actions. It teaches you to be fully aware of your life so you can start living and feeling the way you want.
How do you become more mindful?
The key to becoming more mindful is to simply practice being mindful. It is definitely something that doesn’t come natural to most people. Especially in this day in age when we are constantly distracted by phones, advertisements, TV, the interwebs, etc.
So, Practice. Practice. Practice. It is a skill that must be worked at. Constantly. It can be challenging to start a mindfulness practice, and even more challenging to maintain.
But don’t fret. Practicing mindfulness is not as daunting as it seems.
How do you practice being mindful?
There are a lot of ways to “be mindful”. But the best way to improve your mindfulness and presence is to meditate. Learning to control your breathe and your thoughts through a meditation practice allows you to be more present throughout the rest of you day, and during any activity.
So, the next time you want to experience a moment fully take long, deep breaths and just think about the scenario + environment you are in, in that moment.
What are some mindfulness meditations + exercises?
There are lots of ways to practice mindfulness and meditation! The best way to do it, is to find one that works for you.
Personally, I find it very hard to sit still. So practicing yoga, a moving meditation, is a great option for me.
However, your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be an hour routine. It could simply be taking 10 deep breaths every morning. Or taking 5 minutes to drink your cup of coffee at the kitchen table before rushing off to work.