Mindfulness, put quite simply, is a mental state which is the product of focusing your full attention on the present. And yes, this means every aspect of the present moment like your thoughts, feelings, and physical surroundings. Most importantly though, mindfulness requires full attention on the present without judging or comparing the moment.
I believe that everyone deserves to be lenient and gentle with themselves so these tips are by no means part of my, “regimen.” Like most people, I do get caught up in daily life and forget to set this sort of time aside for myself. However, I always come back to these tips to get me back on track. Mindfulness is a journey that is never complete so don’t worry if you miss morning meditation or journaling. Simply acknowledge the departure from a state of mindfulness and use these tips to guide yourself back. Enjoy!
- Journaling to assist in making gratitude part of your daily life. Whenever life gets overwhelming, I like to find a piece of quiet time to create a quick list of around ten things that I am grateful for in that moment. I used to do this as part of meditation, but found it too distracting and simply much easier to write a list. By journaling what you are grateful for you are forcing yourself into the present. By practicing gratitude in the moment, you have no choice but to focus your full attention on the present in an impartial, less emotional way.
- Meditation and breathing is pivotal in grounding your mental state to the present. Mindfulness meditation, for me, involves a medication practice to help you objectively analyze yourself and surroundings. The addition of concentration on your breath flowing through your body is the best way that I have found to focus on the present and exist in the present as opposed to the past or the future.
- Take a time out because honestly sometimes you need one. Whether the situation just gets too overwhelming, just take a minute to re-center yourself. As a person who is easily overwhelmed, taking a minute or so breathe and take a step back from that mental state is quite effective for me. When I take a quick time out I typically just look around and people watch. The activity requires you to take a step outside of yourself and simply observe what is happening around in that exact moment of time.
- Be awake and look around you. Get off your phone and experience the world free of judgment. When I first tried to live in a more mindful way, it was extremely shocking to see how often I spent my time with one eye looking back at the past and one looking to the future. Instead of being able to sit and enjoy a cup of tea took that time to worry over situations that had not even occurred yet or things I could have done better a day or even years ago. I could not quietly contemplate and enjoy a simple cup of tea. However, once I began practicing mindfulness I took each moment as it came. Fundamentally, a cup of tea is just a cup of tea. Focusing on how the tea tasted and made me feel helped to direct my attention to how beautiful a moment with tea really is.
- Let go of expectations or yourself, the people around you, and the world around you. On my journey to a mindful life I’ve found that I create my own pain by expecting so much and being crushed when the world doesn’t match my expectations. It sounds upsetting to state that the world is never going to meet your expectations but that is the reality. Ironically, the majority of us know this fact and continue to hold on to our expectations in life. Letting go of these expectations means you let go of suffering.
In such a fast-paced tech oriented world it is easy to slip out of the present moment. I hope you’ve enjoyed my top tips to help slip back into the habit of remaining mindful. Feel free to comment below with your tips for a mindful life, I’d love to hear them!