We all want to feel more relaxed, be more focused and have more energy every day.
Our mental, emotional and physical well-being is linked to how well we deal with our daily experiences.
One reason mindfulness has become more known and practiced is because of the benefits it brings to our overall well-being.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being alert, open and present to what’s going on around us. In a state of mindfulness, we’re able to observe our thoughts and feelings with no judgment, which means we can get a better idea of our habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting.
In a state of mindfulness, we feel more connected to everything around us and more likely to be in the present moment instead of thinking about the past or the future.
When we’re in a state of mindfulness, we will:
- Be focused only on the present moment.
- Not judge or categorise our thoughts and feelings as either good or bad.
- Avoid reliving past experiences, good or bad.
- Focus only on the “now.”
Some benefits of practicing mindfulness include:
- It helps us maintain our concentration and focus better.
- It helps us relax more, which helps us manage stress better.
- It gets us into the habit of slowing down our thoughts as we slow down our breathing.
- It makes us more aware of things happening around us.
How to Practice Mindfulness Habits
To practice mindfulness consistently, there are a few things we can do every day that can help us develop the habits required so that mindfulness becomes a part of how we operate.
Here are seven habits we should develop to fully receive the benefits of mindfulness.
- Pay more attention to your breathing. As we grow older, we tend to breathe shallower and faster without even realising it. Slowing down our breathing and taking in long, deep breaths almost always makes us more grounded, centred and calmer. The best part about this is we can do this at any time and it can take as little as 60 seconds to get back to a state of mindfulness.
- Practice being in a state of innocence. This is a technique that comes naturally to children, but we lose it as we grow older. Being in innocence means observing what’s going on around us by being child-like. We observe the world through the eyes of a child. This will make us pay attention to all the wonderful, miraculous things that are happening around us. The more child-like we are, the more we’ll recognise what a wonderful life we have.
- Be conscious of what you are eating. A bad diet or meal has a huge impact on how we feel and on our energy levels. It’s our responsibility to ensure we educate ourselves on what types of foods will serve us the most and help us maintain our focus throughout the day. We want to eat foods that will give us the energy we need to help us get the things we want done a lot easier and with less effort.
- Get enough sleep every night. Lack of sleep throws us off our game so easily and we seldom recover until we have caught up on our sleep. Trying to force ourselves to get through a day when we haven’t had enough sleep is hard and can be unproductive. More and more research conclude that adults require around eight hours of sleep every night.
- Be active throughout the day. In the modern world, we spend so much time sitting down when we work. Our bodies are designed to be active so if our jobs require us to sit down a lot, we must ensure we’re keeping our bodies engaged and active. Short walks or stretches throughout the day are helpful and we must also engage in some form of physical activity numerous times per week. Again, it’s our responsibility to find what’s optimal for us to help us stay more present throughout the day.
- Give yourself some quiet time. One of the best things we can do especially when things are hectic or chaotic is give ourselves some time out. In sports, when one team is getting the better of the other team, often the coach will call a time out to get the players to regroup and refocus. You and I are no different — we need to take timeouts to get centred, refocus on the present moment and do what needs to be done. During this time, some form of meditation or deep breathing is helpful.
- Practice being grateful daily. This could well be one of the most valuable habits we can form. Being grateful automatically shifts the vibration we’re in and puts us in a more receptive and appreciative state. No matter what we’re experiencing, being grateful will help us appreciate all the good things that are happening to us and are around us all the time.
We cannot deny the benefits of mindfulness. The key is to get started now. All it takes is to start with one thing and then add more as time goes on. If we incorporate these habits into our daily practices, we’ll feel a lot better and ultimately be a lot happier. Isn’t that what we really want?
Action Step: Practise deep and slow breathing at least three times per day. You can do it in the morning, during lunch and at the end of the day. Notice what difference that makes to your alertness and energy levels. Over time, add more of the practices listed above.
Question: What is another easy way to practice mindfulness every day?