Reflections

4 Easy Ways To Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a popular concept these days.  It is defined as "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something." And while some may have a daily meditation or yoga practice that helps them with awareness and attention to their mind and body,  many do not. The good news is that there are some simple changes you can make on your journey to becoming a more conscious, aware person.

Here are four simple ways that you can become a more mindful person.

 

1.  Notice your breathing.   By noticing your breath, you return your focus to your body in the present moment, and you become less caught up in your thinking.  At times this can bring an instant reduction in anxiety because your focus is on your breath and not unhelpful thoughts.

2. Get an app.  HeadSpace, Calm, Insight Timer are just a few out there that can bring your mindfulness on the go.  If you are not ready for a long period of meditating, there are many 3-5 minute meditations that can bring some instant calm into your day, keep you focused, and slow down incessant thinking.  

3.  Add a daily calming ritual.  Maybe some quiet time in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea, where you can just be.  You can turn your focus to the smell and taste of your beverage, and enjoy a few minutes of intentional calm.  A zen proverb states "when you are walking, walk. when you are eating, eat." There is no benefit to constant multitasking.

4. Become aware of tendencies to have to be doing something. Someone once said to me, "you're a human being, not a human do-ing."  While there may be nothing wrong with a packed schedule, if that's what you desire, in our fast-paced society we can associate busyness with our self worth.  With technology these days, this becomes especially easy. We can increase anxiety when we compulsively check email, facebook, texts, etc. and treat everything like an emergency.  An awareness of your own patterns with this can help you to set limits for yourself.

 

Becoming a more aware, conscious person takes focus and effort.  It means awareness of your old patterns of overthinking and doing something different.  It means focusing on each moment and staying present. It amazes me how easily we all can get pulled into thinking of the past or the future, without intention!  For an interesting, thorough read on mindfulness and the power of the present moment, try "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

Laura Novak