Most of us are running around every day – some even literally. One of the hardest parts of being mindful is not that just our mind is full of thoughts, racing up and down a mental to do list, bringing up worries (that most of the time we don’t know where they came from) and sometimes really random thoughts (so random we don’t know what to do with them). But also life seems to be getting more and more hectic. Not just internal thoughts and feelings can get too much, but also external triggers. Work, phone, email, cars – the pace gets faster and faster and we are expected to change along with it. Finding time to meditate even once a day is a real achievement.
The faster everything is around us and inside of us, the better it is for us to be more mindful so we can see and hear through all the noise and actually get clarity on what’s really important. So how do we do that without it being just another task on our to-do list? How do we become mindful without it even becoming too much?
Here are three tips I have to slip in some mindfulness during the day:
Washing Your Hands
It’s generally something you should do a couple of times a day so might as well use the occasion to be a little mindful. For example – and easy way is just to ask yourself: How does the water feel? Or you can walk yourself through the process – talk about each thing you are doing. For example “Now I turn on the tap – the water feels cool – my hands are wet, it feels nice”. The goal is just to spend a moment in the moment. It will stop your mind from racing, force you to take a break from all the running thoughts. It will calm the mind even for just a second.
Waiting for Transport
If you are a public commuter – there is bound to be a time where you will wait. If it’s to cross the road, or waiting for the bus, while you wait stop and ask yourself “How am I?”. And then ask yourself: “But really, how am I?”. Get to the core – don’t stop at “fine” or “good”, force yourself to actually say a full sentence. “I am good because I slept well” or “I feel fine but I seem a little anxious”. You don’t have to explain why you feel a certain way. The goal is to touch base with your feelings. Even if you aren’t a public commuter – I bet there are times where you wait for the elevator, or people to enter in the building before you, any chance you notice yourself reaching for your phone – just check in. It will literally take you a bare millisecond and cost you nothing. The gains though, are getting in touch with your current state so you can function better.
At least once a day, when walking to the fridge or walking to the bathroom, you will find yourself in some sort of motion. Tell yourself every time you find yourself going somewhere, to count your breaths in and out till you get to 6. If you want, take it to 8 or 10. Whichever works best for you. Take a deep breath in count 1, take a breath out count 2, and so on. You’ll notice yourself become more conscious of your breathing but also instantly become more calm. Side effect may be your shoulders dropping, and tension leaving your body. It’s a simple trick to get an aligned mind and body.
You don’t have to do the items in that combination. You can ask yourself how are you while washing your hands, or be more mindful of what it is like to sip a cup of coffee. Goal is to find what works for you, so these strategies become a part of your unique routine. It should come easy. Do what you can and it doesn’t have to be every day or every time you do it. Just once is better than never. The bare minimum is already a huge step in the right direction.
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