“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” – Amit Ray, Mindfulness Living in the Moment – Living in the Breath
We, at the Conscious Professional, talk a lot about being mindful, and concentrating on leading a life that is so. But how do you get started? Practicing mindfulness and integrating it into your life can be tricky to begin with. Mindfulness, although you can start practicing its principles immediately, is not something that you will necessarily be ‘good’ at right away.
Mindfulness takes time and practice and even though it can be tough to harness at times, its overall benefits are numerous to both yourself and the people around you. Inviting these techniques and behaviours into one’s life has been seen to make people feel less overwhelmed, more positive about difficult experiences, make wiser choices, feel less stressed, sleep better and have significantly increased levels of self-worth… and this is just a handful of the positive side effects!
How to get started then? Here are a few thoughts and exercises to set you off on your mindfulness journey. Like many things, once you have taken the first step, your journey will build up momentum, and before you know it you will be many likes up the road!
1. The Breath
At the end of the day (and the beginning), it always comes back to the breath. The breath is a pure and simple yet essential act. The breath gives us life, yet its mechanics are so uncomplex. Your breathing occurs naturally and has a consistent rhythm. When you have a moment to yourself, sit and focus on your breathing. To just focus on the breath takes you out of your mind and into your body. This is the foundation of meditation. This exercise, no matter how long you spend on it, is worthwhile. Whether a few concentrated breaths to settle your nerves or a half hour break from the thoughts churning around in your head; regular practice will make a huge difference to your mood and functionality.
2. Consider the Senses
This is one of the best ways to coax yourself into living in the moment; and it is no more complex than paying attention to what you are doing and experiencing. When you are thinking about other things, you don’t register what your senses are picking up. If things are getting to much just pause for a moment. What are you seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling? Take a moment to really smell your coffee, to appreciate the tastes and textures of you lunch or to enjoy the feeling of the sun on your face (or even rain). Put attention into the everyday and you’ll be amazed at the gratification and joy you find.
3. A Little Meditation
Meditation increases energy, inspiration, creativity and happiness in general. Therefore, it stands to reason, if you meditate daily, you will start to experience these feelings more regularly. Changing habits isn’t always easy, but meditation needn’t intrude on your schedule very much; just 10 minutes a day is enough to see a significant change. 10-minute meditation in the morning, whether simple attention to the breath or something more complex, will out you in a much more positive and mindful frame of mind for the remainder of the day.
4. A Few of Your Favourite Things
When you are engaging in your favourite activities, really pay attention to them and let them carry your mind away from your everyday concerns. Doing our favourite thing, whether that be dancing, cooking, reading, listening to music, exercise or whatever else, tends to focus us. We pout all of our love and attention into the activity, bringing us closer to the reality of living in the moment.
5. Eating is A Solo Activity
A habit that many people get into is to make mealtimes a multi-tasking activity. Many of us now eat in front of a device; a T.V, laptop, phone or tablet. Give your mind a moments peace and switch it all off. Take the time to actually enjoy your meal, to revel in the sensations offered by your food and have a moment of simplicity and serenity.
By Chris Thomson
Mindfulness is an excellent way to nurture happiness, but it isn’t the only solution! Check out some other ways to top up your happiness meter… The Quest for Happiness: 5 Habits to Avoid
*The Conscious Professional is dedicated to providing corporate mindfulness and professional resilience training, executive coaching and wellbeing services at the level of professional excellence. Thank you for following our blog.