We all know it’s important to be mindful, but let’s face it, most of us aren’t going to become Zen monks any time soon. So how does the everyday person get their daily dose of mindfulness?
Let’s start by defining mindfulness. It’s about being present in the moment and observing what is happening without judging it too much. That’s it. Mindfulness is often overcomplicated, and life is complex enough without adding an extra layer of intricacy with something that is meant to simplify.
So here are five simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into your busy life.
1) The Headspace App.
This app is really making mindfulness meditation simple. It’s turned me and dozens of my clients into regular meditators.
2) A Daily Routine.
Choose one of the zillion routines you do each day in “zombie mode” and create a little awareness around it. Notice the way you dry yourself after having a shower, the feel of your favourite chair when you sit, or the colour of the sky when you leave the house of a morning.
3) Mindful Eating.
Eat like a MasterChef judge. Pay attention to the smells, tastes, textures, feelings and even the sounds of eating. Notice what happens to your hunger and fullness as you eat (the signs are there if you listen).
4) Mindfulness Reminders.
One of the ironies of becoming more mindful is that you have to be mindful to be mindful. We have a few reminders you can print from our free resources page, including a Now Clock and the Two Zen Questions* to help remind you to get some Zen in your day.
5) Technology free time.
The computer, phone, and TV are major mindfulness suckers. Even a walk outside, dinner, or conversation phone-free can create more mindfulness in your week. If you feel you spend too much time on technology, here’s a video on how to get unhooked!
Finally, our attitude to mindfulness is important. Rather than being a perfectionist, which sets us up for failure, I talk about developing an everyday mindfulness where you see mindfulness as a tool to help you rather than a task to be mastered. It’s ok if you haven’t reached Nirvana after your second week of meditating, you can’t yet sit cross-legged to drink your morning coffee, and the in-laws still bug you from time to time. Take small steps and see where they lead you. For most of us, enlightenment is more likely to be found in Ashgrove than Tibet.
*The Two Zen Questions are simply “where am I?” and “what time is it?”. The answers are always “here” and “now”.