Mindfulness is not a new concept by any means, but it has certainly become increasingly prominent in wellness discussions over the last few years, shifting into mainstream science and medicine. As we continue to live in uncertain times, people are adopting mindful ways to regain and maintain their health. And so we have gathered 5 mindfulness tips to help you win at life!
In its purest form, mindfulness is a form of meditation in which you need to be intensely aware of your feelings and senses, without over analysing what you feel.
Sounds simple enough right? Not always! Very few of us take the time to understand and accept how we are feeling. We are too focused on the work we have to do, which appointment we have to be at, that thing that inconvenienced us yesterday, the bad mood we’re in etc. We could go on, but you get the picture.
These frenetic thoughts tend to distract our minds from the moment we are actually in, increasing stress levels, spiking anxiety and often hindering productivity.
In order to live mindfully, you need to let go of the past and try not to worry about the future. All the old adages come to mind. “Live for the moment!” & “Take one day at a time”. We say these things all the time, but do we actually practice them?
Mindfulness is a wonderful way to learn to be less critical of yourself, whilst recognising why you react the way you do and then having the ability to handle these feelings and sensations in a calm manner. By simply changing the narrative of ‘panic’ into one of calmness and mindfulness, you can change the tone of your entire day.
Here are 5 easy to follow tips to get you started on your mindfulness journey.
Tip 1: Optimize Your Mornings
Wake up slowly. Set your alarm a little earlier so you have time to gather your thoughts. Take a few deep breaths whilst keeping your eyes closed. Mentally scan your body and recognise what you are feeling. Stretch. Set your intention for the day. Make sure it’s positive and makes you feel empowered.
“Today I will be patient with myself and others, remember to smile and laugh often and be grateful for small blessings”
Commit this intention to mind as you go about your morning routine and keep reminding yourself throughout the day.
Tip 2: Shift To The Slow Lane
Slow down! We all live high pressure, fast paced lives because the faster we go the more we will get done right? Wrong! This is a common misconception. Rushing through your day without stopping to take a breath is likely to decrease your productivity, increase your stress and be unable to complete tasks to the best of your ability.
Have a plan of action for each day with attainable and realistic goals. Make sure your plan includes time for you to take a moment to yourself. Step away from your desk, take a walk outside. Sit in absolute silence or listen to your favourite music for ten minutes. Concentrate on how you feel in that moment, not on what you were working on or what still needs to be done.
We guarantee that you will feel fresher and better equipped to continue with your day.
Tip 3: Conscious Eating
Enjoy eating! Avoid eating foods that make you lethargic. Take pride in preparing your snacks and meals. Be aware of which foods leave you feeling fulfilled and which foods just make you feel bloated or lazy.
Take your time when eating and savour every mouthful. Gobbling down a McDonald’s burger whilst rushing between meetings is not conducive to a healthy body or mind. Add meal times to your daily plan and give yourself enough time to eat and be in the moment.
Tip 4: Maximise Movement
Move your body. Whether you choose to go to gym, dance, walk or cycle; any form of physical movement is beneficial to both your body and mind. Use this time to switch off all other sensory distractions and simply enjoy your chosen activity. Put on your favourite playlist, or lose yourself in the sounds of the nature around you. Focus on how your muscles move. How do your lungs feel? How does your skin feel? Zone into your body and the way it moves.
Try to avoid criticising yourself during these moments. Identify weak spots and make a mental note to continue working on them, but make sure your primary focus is on the good stuff!
Tip 5: Revel In Joy
Do one thing every day that brings you joy! Even if it's only for 10 minutes a day, it is important that you keep your passions alive. Do something creative or spend time with someone special who matches your energy and boosts your spirits. Put your phone on silent and pack it away. Avoid scrolling through social media. Be absolutely present in that moment.
Research has shown that mindfulness helps us reduce anxiety and depression. By learning to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, you will find your stress levels decreasing and your ability to handle stressful or unpleasant situations increasing.
Despite some scepticism regarding the mental and physical benefits of practising mindfulness, The Greater Good Magazine unpacked the elements of mindfulness that have been proven and touches on some questions that still need answering.
Mindfulness is a personal journey and it takes time to form new habits. No two peoples’ plans of action or methods will be the same. There is no right or wrong way to be mindful and learning to slow down and be in the moment can do no harm!
Keep your thoughts realistic and in the moment. Remember to breathe. Be kind to yourself and others.
It’s really as simple as that.