Right now, how present are you? Are you maybe skimming this, answering work emails, checking Instagram and also planning what’s for dinner? For some of us, doing all of that in a matter of 2-3 minutes is fairly normal, and living in this autopilot state seems to be the only option. Well, I am here to let you in on a little secret. It really isn’t the best way to live and you have the power to change it, yes – you! The answer? Mindfulness.
I am sure I am getting some eye rolls right about now, and thoughts like, “Woah, woah that’s that weird yoga word that people with moon decks and sage use…that isn’t for me.” Even if you don’t do yoga or use sage, you can still practice mindfulness AND reap the amazing benefits.
Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. Simply put, it is about being more present. For me, this has translated into all areas and aspects of my life, and could for you too. When having a conversation with someone, answering emails, working out, or even making a smoothie – doing each thing while being as present as possible and truly working towards living in the moment will benefit not only you, but the people in your life as well. Another way to think about it is being aware and focusing on the current task or situation at hand and not mentally being in ten places at once.
This concept has also supported my health journey because it has taught me to eat more mindfully. This means eating what I intuitively know is right for my body and then while I eat, really being present during my meals. Both have drastically changed my life by supporting my gut health and overall health.
So, how do we incorporate more mindfulness into our lives? The most common technique is meditation. And the best thing about meditation is that doesn’t need to be this huge ordeal that takes up a lot of your time. It can be as simple as doing a quick breathing exercise on the subway, taking 5 minutes to tune into a guided mediation on an app, or simply journaling for 2 minutes a day. There are also activities that people find meditative. My dad talks about golf as being very meditative for him, or for me, biking on the beach path can do the trick. Anything that allows you to quiet the mind and tap into that place where you are detaching from thoughts and listening to what you feel, is meditative. It is from that place that we can then shift our mindset, which is what we carry throughout the rest of our day and incorporate into all the different areas of our lives.
If I haven’t already convinced you enough, here are some benefits of mindfulness and meditation:
· Reduces stress
· Promotes self-awareness
· Improved concentration and focus
· Promotes better sleep
· Promotes physical, emotional and mental well being
· Fosters a sense of whole body knowing
· Expanded perspective and greater insight
· Love for yourself and those around you
· Greater mental clarity
Hopefully by now you are a bit inspired to go through the rest of your day more mindfully. Really focusing on your tasks at work, eating lunch away from your computer and paying attention to the conversations between you and your loved ones. Overall, this will help to also bring more meaning to all that it is you do, as opposed to just “going through the motions.” At the bottom of this post is a simple challenge to help start this process, as well as a few apps that I recommend.
Also, if you are unsure of how to begin your meditation journey, or are looking for support - head to my Offerings page or reach out directly - I would love to hear from you!
Simple Mindfulness/Meditation Challenge:
· For the remainder of the week I challenge you to stop and take three deep breaths twice a day. Here is how to do it. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in for the count of 4. Then hold the breath, placing the tongue at the roof of the mouth for 4 breaths. Then open mouth exhale for 4 breaths, letting go of anything that no longer serves you. Repeat. As you are doing this you can think to yourself, “Take a deep breath in for 1, 2, 3, 4 / Suspend your breath for 4, 3, 2, 1 / And Open Mouth Exhale for 4, 3, 2, 1.”
· Some good times to do this: in the morning before leaving for work, right before lunch, right after a stressful meeting or encounter, before cooking dinner, after dinner before bed.
Apps for meditation: Calm, Headspace, Unplug Meditation