Do you feel like most days you’re just “going through the motions”? At the end of the day, can you barely remember what you did or how you felt during the day? Sounds like you’re on “autopilot”. When we’re on autopilot, we might drive home from work and not remember the drive at all, or eat dinner in front of the television without really tasting or enjoying it.
When our minds take flight, and we become detached from our body and the present moment, it doesn’t take long before we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts, replaying upsetting moments in our minds, or thinking about our worries and responsibilities. And not long afterwards, we feel stressed and anxious. Mindfulness can help.
Mindfulness is the act of being present in the here and now, and the practice of mindfulness is proven to have numerous health benefits, from decreased stress to increased levels of focus and happiness. The best part is that every single one of us can do it. We just need to practice.
While many people associate mindfulness with meditation, something you have to do on a yoga mat in total silence, there are actually many ways you can practice mindfulness throughout the day. We can be mindful using our five senses: touch, sight, sound, taste and smell.
Some ways you can be more mindful during your day include:
Are your muscles tense? Do you need water? Have you moved your body today? Taking time to bring yourself back to the present moment and bring awareness to your body allows you to recognize what your body is doing and what it needs in the moment. Whether that’s unclenching your jaw, relaxing your shoulders, taking a walk around the block, or making sure you’re giving your body enough fuel.
Do you often find yourself multitasking during meals and not being fully present while you eat? Try pausing and focusing on what your food tastes like or how it smells. Taking time to savour your food will enhance your ability to actually enjoy it, and make it easier for you to recognize cues from your body, like fullness or thirst.
When you’re out in nature, where’s your mind at? If you’re like most people, you’re thinking about work or family responsibilities, or your head is in the clouds. Next time you’re outside, try being more aware of your surroundings and the nature around you. Notice the texture of the grass, leaves, and tree bark, and take in the sounds and scents around you. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and the breeze as it blows past you.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be time-consuming or yet another demand on your already limited time. Even taking a short 30-second break to savour your morning coffee or tea can help to set your intention for the day, and remind you to be mindful of the little things that bring you joy. (Personally, I love sitting with my afternoon coffee, soaking up the warmth of my coffee mug and enjoying the aroma.)
I encourage you to reflect upon the moments in your day that bring you joy, and take time to savour those moments. Taking pauses throughout the day to ground yourself in the present moment will help to boost your mood. And when we feel connected to things that bring us a sense of calm or joy, we feel less stressed.
No spam. Just tips and tricks to have a better week every Monday.