Mindfulness is very useful for reducing levels of stress and anxiety. It can help you create a more fulfilling life. While sitting meditation does form a significant part of it there are many other things you can do to develop the skill of mindfulness and harness its power in your everyday life.
Concentrate: Concentration is a key skill required for mindfulness. Start by focusing on your breath and quiet your mind. Should stray thoughts pop into your consciousness then refocus on your breathing. Practice every day and you will soon find your concentration levels increase.
Sit: Start your day by sitting quietly. Sitting meditation plays a significant part in mindfulness and by practicing every day you will develop your concentration, your ability to focus on your breathing and clearing your mind.
Don’t Multi-task: Instead of trying to do more than one thing at a time in order to feel productive, focus on one task. This not only helps increase productivity but it also ensures that you are focused on what you are doing at that moment. You’ll be able to apply all your senses to what you are doing, heightening the experience and putting yourself in the moment.
Take a Break: Spend at least 5 minutes every day doing absolutely nothing. This will help clear your mind and relax you. You can do this anywhere. Simply stop doing whatever you are involved in and do nothing. Clear your mind and focus on what is happening at that moment. Use all of your senses to experience it.
Eat Slowly: By taking your time chewing slowly while you eat, you will enjoy your food more. You’ll experience the full taste of what you are eating. This also helps you eat less as you will know when you are full.
Know Yourself: Take time to write down what you think about that takes you away from the moment (the now). It may be a worry, stress, fear or situation. Whatever is disrupting your thoughts or actions should be written down. You can then try and work out how to deal with them so that they no longer affect you.
Be Positive: Being positive is very powerful. Make sure that your thoughts and self-talk are positive. Surround yourself with people who are also positive and don’t allow other people’s negative energy our outlook to affect you. If you struggle with this you could try coaching, hypnotherapy or Neuro Linguistic Programing.
Determination: Mindfulness is a skill that takes time to develop. If you are determined to be mindful then you will need to practice regularly. Determination and persistence are two skills that will help you create a regular routine which can include mindfulness.
Gratitude: Keep a gratitude journal. Write down at least three things you are grateful for every day. This encourages you to think about the present and how it is impacting your life and well-being.
Take Up Yoga or Tai Chi: Not only will you get regular exercise but you’ll discover breathing and relaxation techniques that will allow you to experience the present moment. Both of these forms of exercise are great stress relievers but will enhance your mindfulness as they develop your awareness of your mind and body.
Mindfulness is a skill anyone can develop but it will take regular practice. Below are three activities you can do right now to help you become more mindful.
Step 1: Do nothing! Spend 5 or 10 minutes simply sitting quietly, focusing on nothing but your breathing.
Step 2: Watch Andy Puddicombe’s TED Talk, All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes.
Step 3: Write down three things you are grateful for today.