Mindfulness, or living mindfully, is about experiencing your life through all your senses, and paying close attention to the present moment, without judgment.
In her book, Buddhism for Mothers, Sarah Napthali defines mindfulness as “an awareness of all the present moment contains: the sensations of your body, your feelings, perceptions, assumptions and tendencies”. It’s the process of returning your attention to the present every time you find your mind wandering.
It seems simple, but mindfulness has been scientifically proven to increase happiness levels by reducing anxiety and creating better relationships. Practicing mindfulness exercises has also been shown to help people sustain focus and attention, work more effectively in stressful situations and improve their memory, so it’s also a brilliant productivity booster (source: https://www.headspace.com/science/mindfulness-meditation-focus).
One of the simplest ways to build our mindfulness muscle is by learning mindfulness meditation. But we can put the concept into practice by cultivating mindfulness as we go about our daily activities.
Use social media mindfully
Set time limits on your social media use to avoid mindless scrolling. Delete the apps from your phone. Choose to disconnect regularly by taking short digital detoxes. Use all that extra time to focus on real life human interactions.
Treat housework like meditation
Choose an activity, such as washing the dishes, and be fully present while you complete the task. Set a timer for 20 minutes to help you keep your focus, and take a 5-minute break before getting back to work. Engage all your senses, for example, smell the perfume of the dish soap, feel the warmth of the water on your hands, and pay attention to any sounds in and around the kitchen.
Make mealtimes mindful
As busy women, we can often find ourselves eating breakfast on the go or checking emails or Facebook while we eat lunch. To turn a mealtime into a mindfulness ritual, eliminate any distractions and sit down at a table to eat. Notice the aroma of the food. Feel its temperature in your mouth. Pay attention to the taste: is it sweet, salty or sour? Mindful eating can help us to reconnect with our bodies hunger signals and it makes the experience of eating even more enjoyable.
To exercise mindfully, either choose an activity that promotes mindfulness, such as yoga or walking, or think of your regular exercise as a mini-meditation. Pay attention to your breathing, notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or notice the rhythm and connection between your body and your breath.
Be aware of your changing emotions throughout the day
In 24 hours, we can experience many different emotions: joy, sadness, guilt, frustration, boredom, excitement, and many others. Next time you feel a sudden change in your emotional state, notice what it feels like in your body. Even a brief moment of mindfulness can help you to remain calm, instead of reacting on autopilot.
When we spend our days rushing from task to task, and from moment to moment, we end up rushing through our one and only life. Practicing mindfulness can help you to appreciate the little moments – the everyday joys and struggles that add up to a happy and whole life.
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- Mindfulness Exercises to Increase Your Happiness and Productivity - December 4, 2015