Mindfulness is the
word de jour
from mindful eating, to mindful meditation,
to mindful breathing. It's one of those concepts that is so simply, yet so easily overlooked. So what can all of this hippie-dippie
stuff do for you?
First, the definition of mindfulness:
A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment,
while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's own
feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations; often used as a therapeutic technique.
Great... so again, what does that
mean for you...
like literally the person reading this right now?
How can you be "mindful" about your daily routine tasks and boring obligations? Can you mindfully make dinner or take a shower? Can you practice mindfulness while folding laundry (the ultimate
worst chore ever
I would answer yes. ANYTHING can be done mindfully!
But here's the key:
everything in your life
needs to be done mindfully before you can reap the rewards.
Starting with one habit a day can literally start to re-wire you brain today.
Here are some real-world examples:
Invite your spouse or kids to get in on this, say aloud the colors of the foods you are prepping. Stop to smell the ingredients as you touch them (close your eyes as you smell them to further enhance sensation). Feel the heat from the oven, the coolness of the water, or the varying textures of utensils (wooden spoons or cutting boards, steel knives, and smooth plastic bowls) Give thanks for the time it took to grow a carrot or bell pepper. Take a moment to respect the life that was given to provide you with chicken breasts or ground beef.
Taking a shower:
Take 3 deep breaths as you close your eyes and feel the water trickle over your entire body. Smell the aroma of shampoo and soaps before applying them, notice the lather and thickness of your hair as you wash it. As you dry off each body area, give a silent thanks for it's hard work and purpose.
Feel the warm clothes fresh from the dryer on your face or hands. Smell the laundry detergent or dryer sheets (literally hold them up to your nose and deeply inhale). Notice the colors and patterns of various items. Feel the different fabrics and textures. Give thanks for each item, the hard work it took to buy them, and the ability to clean your clothes so easily with fresh, clean water.
Mindful: Simply observing what is in front of you.. with no judgement.
Like any muscle, your mindfuness muscle will grow and gain strength the more you use it. I promise you will become a happier, more grateful, and less stressed out person if you stop, observe, and appreciate the small things you do on a daily basis. Once this practice becomes a habit it will be hard NOT to be mindful while you do your daily activities. Your brain craves down time, and small mental breaks are usually more realistic than sitting for 20 mins on a mat thinking about nothing. (NOT that I have anything against a formal mindfulness meditation practice, but let's just take this one step at a time)
All we have is this moment. This moment is your life. Yesterday is gone, it only exists in your memory. Tomorrow isn't here yet, it's a total mystery and there's no guarantee it's even coming. So simply enjoy the moment you are in. This moment is your life.
To learn more about mindfulness, check out this awesome link and take a free stress test: