Definition of mindfulness: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
How often are you actually present? So often we are either dwelling in the past or planning for the future.
However, there is something so powerful in setting a few minutes aside each day to focus on being present, to truly soak in the moment.
Sounds crazy right? That we have to actually set aside time to be present. Well if we do not block time off in our schedule, I guarantee you will either be thinking about something in the past or planning what you are going to do next. For example, what am I going to have for lunch? Who is going to pick the kids up after practice? When am I going to fit in my run? Lets start planning a trip!
The truth is we live in a noisy world; And now with social media, cell phones, and internet within reach at any given moment, we are rarely disconnected and present.
Why is this important?
- Reduces stress and improves hormone balance
- Improves mental clarity
- Improves sleep quality
- Can reduce blood pressure
- Can help with food cravings
- Can improve happiness and feelings of gratitude
- It allows time for self-reflection
Tips to increase mindfulness
Set aside time each day for YOU to truly be present.
- I recommend waking up 5-10 minutes earlier and having a spot in your house for your daily quiet time. This can be for deep breathing, stretching, prayer/meditation- anything that quiets the mind and helps ground yourself.
If you are new to this concept try one of the apps below:
Pay attention to what you are actually doing.
- If you are eating– focus on how the food taste, the texture, smells; take the time to actually enjoy meal time
- If you are taking with a coworker or friend– actually listen to them and engage in conversation. How often are you introduced to someone and completely forget their name because you were focused on what you were going to say next or something totally unrelated to your conversation?
- If you are driving in traffic and stressed– use this time to breathe. How often do you actually get to sit down and just breathe?
Give yourself time to disconnect
- I recommend turning your cell phone on do not disturb 15-20 minutes before bed. There is no reason you need to be looking at social media or answering work emails (unless of course you are on call for your job). It is important to give yourself some time to unwind and disconnect from your busy day. Instead write down 3 things you are grateful for that day. It is always better to go to bed with a positive thought.
- I don’t know if this is just me, but this is a real problem in America. We are always comparing ourselves to the “Joneses” next door. When we live our life in comparison, we feel inadequate and have this desire for more, more, and more. This is a huge roadblock in achieving mindfulness and ultimately true happiness.