Life is so busy that many of us feel like we’re on a never-ending treadmill rushing from one must-do to another. Digital distractions add to the commotion, and there never really seems to be any quiet time in our day.
When aren’t we thinking about what needs to be done and what didn’t get done? These runaway thoughts and anxieties can cause a lot of stress and weigh us down on a daily basis. So just how does one calm their thoughts and wrestle their mind back into the present? It’s called mindfulness and it’s a sure way to dial down your stress levels and increase your wellbeing.
Although stress is unavoidable and everyone experiences it, paying attention on purpose in the present moment helps to reduce its negative impact and positively affects our health, happiness and overall well-being.
Mindfulness is all about staying open and present to what is actually unfolding in real time. It’s about setting aside thoughts of what happened or might happen. Sadly, we spend just under 50% of our life in the present moment. That means for almost 50% of our waking hours we’re worrying about the future or ruminating over the past and not engaged with, or enjoying, what we’re doing in the present moment.
While getting away for some R&R a few times a year, as well as indulging in regular wellness treatments such as massages and wraps, definitely help us focus on the present and contribute to healing us physically and psychologically, we also need to find ways to slow down our thinking and be more mindful on a daily basis.
It would be nice to notice the budding flowers, smell the air, and hear the sounds instead of thinking about an unmanageable to-do list, demanding boss or what to make for dinner. Being mindful for even a few minutes a day will contribute to increasing creativity, engagement and overall productivity in all areas of our lives.
People miss out on their life and the potential for joy and connection if they’re not present. Here are some ways to pay mind to being more mindful and enjoy the present moments:
• Take five: It starts by focusing on one complete breath. Then deepening and lengthening that breath, so that the inhale and the exhale is about five seconds each. Finally, take five breaths in this way, feeling the breath moving in and out of the body.
• Listen up: Choose one person in your life to practice listening to with all of your attention. Don’t tell them they are your cue to practice mindful listening.
• Sip slowly: When you’re sipping that herbal tea in the morning or on a break at work, see if you can just sit there, focus on the moment and enjoy every sip of your drink.
• Step by step: When you are walking, at work or even around the house, just focus on walking, feeling your feet pressing into the floor with each step.
• Outside the box: Take time to get outside everyday – even for five minutes. Focus on being in the moment, breathing in the air, and feeling everything around you. Your body and mind will thank you for it.