Mindfulness is about being in the present moment and not getting into that often anxiety provoking, non-stop)spiral of thoughts about the past or future. It means really being aware of what you’re doing and feeling RIGHT NOW. This can be a tricky thing to get used to doing as we’re often used to trying to do multiple things at one time. For example, we may be sending a work e-mail but also planning out what we’ll be having for dinner, or we’re watching TV and reading celeb gossip at the same time. I have put together a list of 3 places in which you can start practicing your mindfulness skills on a daily basis and some tips on how to do it so that you can start today.
1. When you’re eating
When you’re eating is a great time to start practicing mindfulness. How many times have you been looking forward to a meal because you felt hungry and you ended up scarfing down your food before you even realized it? You probably didn’t even get to appreciate the meal that you were eating or how good it tasted.
Being mindful while eating involves looking at your food, enjoying the process of tasting it, paying attention to the different flavors and texture of the food, and eating and chewing it slowly. Some tips for this include don’t eat lunch at your desk while you’re working. Don’t eat in front of the TV without even looking at your meal. Don’t eat while checking your e-mail, texting a friend, or playing Words with Friends. Really just focus on the food and the process of eating it whether you’re by yourself or with someone else. An added benefit of this will be that you’re less likely to overeat since you’re eating more slowly and paying attention to how you feel and will feel full more quickly.
2. In the car
Driving in your car is another great opportunity for you to practice being mindful. How many times have you hopped in the car to drive to work or somewhere else and gotten there only to realize that you don’t remember much about the ride? It’s actually kind of scary when that happens because it means you were driving on autopilot. Driving mindfully will increases your safety on the road.
In order to be mindful while driving, place your phone in the glove compartment so you aren’t tempted to check your e-mails or text or talk on the phone. Make it a point to pay attention to the scenery – make sure that you can remember 3 points of interest that you never noticed before when you get to your destination (e.g. a house that you never noticed, a car that passes you on the road, or whatever is near a stoplight or stop sign that you you stopped at). You can also use your time in the car to practice your mindful breathing. Every time you’re at a stoplight, use that time to take 3 deep breaths and bring yourself back to the present moment.
3. In the shower
The shower is another perfect situation to practice mindfulness and living in the moment. What usually happens when you take a shower? You probably often spend that time thinking about the things that went wrong at work that day or replaying that argument that you just had with your friend/boyfriend/mother. There is absolutely nothing relaxing or enjoyable about that!
Instead you should be focusing on the self-care that you can be providing yourself in that very moment. Enjoy the temperature of the water as it helps to release the tension in your neck and shoulders. Appreciate the scent of the your favorite soap or shower gel that you have chosen to use. If you choose to, you can even light a candle and enjoy how it adds to the atmosphere.
Now that I have provided you with some great places and situations to start practice being mindful, are you ready to try it out? You will excited to see how this can change your mood and your outlook on your day. Let me know in the comments below which one of these places you’re going to choose to be mindful first!
Are you feeling some resistance to changing your addiction to multi-tasking? Maybe you’re nervous you’ll still become distracted? This is a practice that will help you become more mindful and if you notice that you’ve become distracted, you can just bring yourself back to the present moment and the task at hand. Just noticing that you have become distracted means that you’re becoming more mindful. Taking a deep breath and and focusing on what you’re currently doing will help you get back to your mindful practice.