“Life is short.”
“Live life to the fullest.“
“You only live once.”
People give this type of advice all the time. But, it’s easier said than done, right? In our busy world, time flies by and we barely remember the drive home from work, let alone take the time to appreciate the scenery. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We CAN live life to the fullest.
We CAN appreciate every moment.
We CAN enjoy ourselves every single day.
How is this possible?
The answer is mindfulness. Maybe you’ve heard of mindfulness before and shrugged it off as something that only hippies do. Or maybe you’ve never even heard of it. Mindfulness is not a new idea, by any means, but it is gaining popularity and proving to be a useful tool in living a happy, balanced life.
In order to live mindfully, all we need to do is train ourselves to be more aware and more present. This involves slowing down our thoughts and paying more attention to the small moments of our lives. If we don’t slow down and hit the pause button a few times a day, we run the risk of waking up at 80 wondering where it all went.
What does mindfulness look like?
If you’re thinking this mindfulness thing sounds cool, you may be envisioning yourself needing to meditate for hours a day and gliding through life on your own personal rainbow. Trust me, it’s not as majestic as that. Mindfulness is very down to earth and low-key. You can actually do it anywhere, anytime.
Here are some examples of mindfulness in action:
- Taking a few deep breaths while stuck in traffic instead of tensing up or getting agitated.
- Lying in bed for a moment before opening your eyes to feel grateful for another new day.
- Getting up from your desk and doing a lap around the office instead of staying glued to your computer screen non-stop.
- Eating slowly and enjoying your food, without any distractions from TV or the internet.
See? These aren’t exactly magical moments that require a lot of time or effort. In fact, the whole point of mindfulness is to slow down and take a moment of ease to momentarily escape from a day full of chaos and stress.
Step 1: How do I get started?
There are a lot of ways to bring mindfulness into your life. Like the examples listed above, it can be as simple as closing your eyes and taking a deep breath. The main objective of mindfulness is to slow down and appreciate life, minute by minute.
One of the best ways to start being more mindful is to set a timer on your phone as a reminder to take a few mindful moments throughout the day. You could easily start with just one or two of these moments a day, for example right after your morning alarm goes off and then again before bed.
When you’ve gotten the hang of pausing twice a day, try adding in another one or two moments during the day. You could make it a point to eat one meal mindfully, without any distractions. And then you could also make it a point to pause once you get home from work and clear your mind before your evening begins.
And voila! Now you’ve added a few solid mindful moments into your day. Good job!
Step 2: What about meditation?
The other big tool of mindfulness is meditation. There’s a chance you might already be meditating on a regular basis or maybe you’ve tried it and just couldn’t get the hang of it. No matter your comfort level with meditation, it is a very simple and easy tool you can learn slowly over time. The best part about meditation is that it can be done anywhere and in as little as 1-3 minutes.
The easiest way to meditate is to just jump in and give it a try. Here are a few simple steps for you to follow:
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. If you prefer, you can also meditate lying down.
- Close your eyes and begin to scan your body, relaxing any tense areas as you find them.
- Focus on your breath, from the very beginning of the in-breath all the way through the end of the out-breath. Place your focus on one area in your body where you can feel the sensation of breathing. This might be your lower abdomen or your nostrils.
- Don’t worry about thoughts that may pop into your head. This is completely normal and to be expected. When thoughts pop up, simply let them go and return to your breath. This might happen every 2 seconds. Don’t worry about trying to clear your mind completely because thoughts are a natural part of meditation.
- Continue focusing on your breath and when you’re ready, slowly open your eyes and start gently moving your body to awaken it again.
That wasn’t so bad, was it? The biggest thing to remember is that meditation is a time for relaxing and focusing on the breath, regardless of the thoughts that may keep popping into your head. Don’t let yourself get frustrated if your mind isn’t empty because that’s not the point of meditation.
Give this a try at different times of the day and in different positions. It may take some time to find the practice that works best for you. Also, if you struggle to focus in silence, you can try listening to guided meditations or put on a sound machine app on your phone for some background noise.
Step 3: What’s next?
To get you started, I’ve put together a few mindfulness guides in my free resource library. The first one is a list of Mindful Moments, which are examples like the ones above that give you some ideas of how to easily bring mindfulness into your life.
Another guide I created is a list of my recommended meditation apps and podcasts. There are a ton of options out there, so I wanted to narrow down your search and give you a few that I’ve tried out and like for myself.
I will be continuing to cover mindfulness in an ongoing series. So, stay tuned for the rest of the series to learn more about who can benefit from mindfulness and how it has personally changed my own life.
There will also be a free 3-week mindfulness challenge that will launch after this blog series ends. The challenge will include daily emails to help you bring mindfulness into your life, day by day. Some of the activities will include meditations, journal prompts, and gratitude activities.
I will also be offering weekly one-on-one email support if you'd like to talk through your journey and get any input or advice. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, keep an eye out for the upcoming blog posts as I give more details and reveal the start date.
If you’d like to be notified when the next post in this series goes live, feel free to join my mailing list and you’ll get an email letting you know when the next post has been published. When you sign up you will also get the guides I mentioned above as added bonuses.
Also, feel free to share this post with someone who might enjoy this topic or appreciate learning something about mindfulness and meditation. Come back next week to learn other ways to build mindfulness into your life.
Until then, sending all the light & love your way,
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