Mindfulness is about being centered, grounded and consciously aware. A core principle of mindfulness is to stay focused on the here and now. Granted, there are times when you have to plan and focus on the future. However, the principle of mindfulness is to not allow the past or fear of the future to steal your present joy. Mindfulness is about not being overwhelmed by things that are outside of your control.
When people think of mindfulness, they often think of meditation. Meditation is a pillar of traditional mindfulness technique. The goal of meditation is to quiet your mind and to focus in on what your senses are experiencing. You can incorporate mindfulness into your day. Listen to calming music, such as jazz, classical or sounds of nature. Start with listening for 5-10 minutes a day. You may be able to work up to more time. While listening to the music, pay attention to the notes, close your eyes and intentionally focus on what you are hearing. This simple exercise is mindfulness.
Be consciously aware of basic everyday tasks. If taking baths is part of your self-care regimen, be mindful while doing it. Focus on the sounds of the water filling the tub, enjoy the warmth of the water and take note of its calming warmness. This is mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be used during stressful times of the day. There are two ways to look at life situations. The mindful way or the the stress provoked way. Imagine going to the DMV to renew your license. Trips to the DMV may be historically known for invoking stress and long wait times. Now, imagine the same trip to the DMV while practicing mindfulness. Pay attention to the temperature in the room. Observe the people around you. Chances are they are just as annoyed by the DMV experience. Remind yourself that you have to renew your license and the process is out of your control. When you recognize stressful events mindfully, you are able to process through them.
Practice staying centered first thing in the morning and right before bed. We live in a technologically advanced society. Phones and computers can be awesome! Phones, computers and bright lights are not so awesome first thing in the morning and right before bed. Studies have shown that bright lights and stimulation negatively affect sleep and energy levels. Make a conscious decision to wait an hour after rising before checking your phone. Likewise, make a mindful decision to not stare at your phone before going to bed. Make waking up and going to sleep a mindfulness based routine. Focus on what you are doing, do not stress about tomorrow and enjoy the process of resting and waking.
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