We should all try to be more mindful in as many aspects of life as possible, both at home and at work. Being mindful means being entirely present in the moment and enjoying that moment, rather than worrying about what is to come or living in the past. It is especially true if there is nothing you can do to change any of that; there is no point in doing anything except living in the present. It can be a difficult practice to start with, so here are some great tips to bring mindfulness into your life.
Meditating is one of the very best ways to clear your mind and relax, making it easier to live in the moment. In fact, some would say that mindfulness is almost impossible without it. It’s possible to fit meditation into your day in just a few minutes, particularly if you do it first thing in the morning, or just before you go to sleep at night. You do need to be fully focused, however, and you cannot meditate while doing something else. If you are keen to try meditating, then it is wise to find a video to watch or read a book. You can even go to classes to teach you how to do it well. When you get it right, you can even get a natural high with meditation which is certainly another bonus.
It can often be the case that something you once enjoyed has, due to how busy everyone is, now become something that needs to be done quickly in order to get back to work. Eating is exactly like this, and five-minute lunches (not lunch breaks) at a desk, still typing with one hand, are often the way things go. The same is true when you get home too; you either eat in front of the TV and are therefore distracted (possibly eating too much in the process because you didn’t realize you were full) or you rush through your meal to get back to whatever it was you were doing before.
This is not a mindful way to live, and it’s not healthy either. It’s a much better idea to treat your meal as a special moment in itself, not something you have to get through in order to continue doing other things. Eat at the table with others if you can, and don’t have any electronic devices with you. Then you should really interact with the food; smell it, look at it, taste it, and enjoy it. Take small bites and chew each piece.
Everyone has to do chores, even if we don’t enjoy them. Tidying and cleaning up around the house is essential, but they do take up a lot of time when it might be preferable to do something else. Even the word ‘chore’ is associated with begrudgingly having to do something. If you want to be mindful, though, why not think about it differently? Why not turn those chores into a mindfulness exercise? Next time you need to dust, vacuum, make the beds, or anything else, ensure you are fully engaged in the task and don’t rush to get it over and done with. Be focused and don’t allow yourself to become distracted. Do it to the best of your abilities, and when you are finished, not only will you be proud of a job well done, but you will have been mindful and relaxed too.
There has been an idea around for a long time now that says multi-tasking is a good thing, and that we should all try to do more of it. However, this advice is probably best ignored. Far from making us more productive, multi-tasking just makes us busier and more frustrated because we don’t seem to be achieving anything. By taking things one at a time, we can generally do a better job and get it done more quickly and to a better standard than we would if we were doing lots of different things at a time. Multi-tasking drains us, both mentally and physically, and that means we can’t be mindful. Neither can we be mindful is we are unable to focus on just one thing. By stopping our multi-tasking habits and realizing that they are not good for us, and by focusing more on just one thing, mindfulness will automatically follow.
Take It Slowly
Everyone is in a rush these days; there is always so much to do and not enough time to do it in. Rushing around isn’t good for us, though, and it can make us a lot more stressed and miserable than we would be if we just took the time to slow down a little (or a lot!). By reducing life to a lot of deadlines, we’re bouncing from one task to the next, and we can’t possibly be mindful.
This can be due to our jobs, but if your job is one that doesn’t offer any time for rest, then you should look for one that does. Life is about more than working. If you don’t get everything done, don’t punish yourself for it. It won’t change anything, and it will make you resentful of the task at hand. Having a cut off time, where you stop work and spend time with friends and family instead is extremely important. Otherwise, the temptation to keep working becomes too much.
Start each day, or, even better, finish the last, by creating a to-do list with the most important items at the top and the ones that can wait if you run out of time at the bottom. That way you will always get done what needs to be, and you will feel much better about having achieved more. It can also be a good idea to make sure that you get the jobs you’re not looking forward to done first. Once they are out of the way, you can get on with more fun tasks, and by the end of the day, you will have a good feeling about what you’re doing.