In today’s fast-paced world, seeing people who consciously slow down amidst the hustle and bustle has become quite a rarity.
It’s mind-boggling to note how often we react almost automatically with rage, frustration, or impatience, just because we had to deal with a tight situation or somebody rubbed us the wrong way.
As it turns out, pausing to put mindfulness into practice is key to having better days. It helps decrease stress and anxiety while allowing you to appreciate every single moment as it happens.
Here are some of the practical ways to practice mindfulness and incorporate it into your lifestyle:
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Wake up with a Purpose
To wake up with an underlying motivation for everything you think, say, or do seems like a pretty simple task, yet most people tend to overlook or simply choose not to practice.
Every day, we face the challenge of keeping our unconscious aligned with our conscious thinking. One of the fundamental ways to ensure this alignment remains intact is to set an intention as you begin your day.
Doing this will not only strengthen the connection between your upper and lower centers, but it also has the power to affect your entire positively. By setting your intention before stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll notice that your words and actions, even responses, especially during challenging situations, are more mindful and composed.
This practice involves the following steps, which are best done first thing in the morning, before checking your emails or browsing through your social media accounts:
Upon waking, relax while sitting in your bed or on a chair: Connect with your inner self with your eyes closed while keeping an upright position that isn’t too stiff or rigid.
Take a couple of deep breaths: Inhale and exhale through your nose and mouth, respectively. Allow your breathing to develop a pattern as you trail it in and out. Carefully notice your chest rise and fall as you follow your breathing rhythm.
Come up with your intention for the day: You’re ready to set your intent for the day. This can be anything that you feel is important, from “Today, I will be more kind to myself” to “I will be more patient and give generously to others.”
Check with yourself throughout the day: As you go on with your day, revisit your intention as you take a breather. You’ll soon note an improvement in how you communicate, how you handle your mood shifts, and the overall quality of your relationships as you become more mindful of your intentions for each day.
Savor Every Mouthful
Surely, there’s more to eating than simply bite, chew, and swallow. Those who realized this sooner are aware that it is one of the most pleasurable experiences we can have as humans. Moreso, if there’s a conscious effort to savor every mouthful.
Being more mindful during mealtimes will satisfy your need for nutrition and turns the act of eating into a far richer experience. As it turns out, it isn’t just the stomach that becomes hungry, but our other senses too.
To satisfy your need for nourishment and address every kind of hunger there is, follow these steps:
Take a deep breath before having your fill: One of the common practices that you should veer away from is to go from one task right after the other without pausing.
Before eating, take the time to slow down and allow for a calmer transition to your meal. This can be achieved by closing your eyes and taking deep breaths in and out of your belly 8-10 times.
Pay attention to your body: Once focused, you’re now more aware of the sensations taking place within your body. At this point, do your best to listen to your body and not your thoughts. Paying attention to the present and nothing else should allow you to answer, “How hungry am I?” accurately.
Eat only according to your hunger: After getting a more complete sense of how hungry you are, you can now be more mindful about what you want to eat, when you’re going to eat, and how much you’re going to eat.
Being more mindful during mealtimes will help you tune in to your real needs, thus preventing you from doing anything detrimental and unhealthy, like overeating.
Allow the Mind to Rewire
When you’re consciously being mindful, you’re training your brain to pay more attention and regulate your emotions. Instead of feeling uneasy and helpless in difficult situations, mindfulness enables you to be in the moment without judgment or attachment while keeping your emotions in check.
Being mindful at all times allows you to focus on the “what is” instead of any “what ifs.” Meaning, you’ll be able to see what’s happening objectively instead of dwelling on what could possibly happen. It is what’s stopping thoughts and emotions from fully taking over and start controlling you.
Fire up those Muscles
Exercises and physical activities, such as lifting weights, running the treadmill, or riding a back, can be a mindfulness practice.
More than being workout routines to shed fat and burn excess calories, these physical activities also activate the mind.
Apart from helping shift your frame of mind from feeling distracted to feeling fit and capable, they also synchronize your body, mind, and the rest of the nervous system.
Achieving this state further strengthens your will and capacity to focus all your energy on the tasks you need to accomplish.
One of the truths that aren’t being heard quite enough is that you don’t always have to be “running all over the place” to get things done.
Eventually, at some point, the mind and body will need a break to recharge. Allow yourself moments wherein you don’t necessarily have to be doing anything. Just be.
Soon, you’ll reap the benefits of keeping yourself rested after realizing that taking well-deserved time-offs is a necessary part of living a life well-spent in the long run.
Mindfulness is more of a gift than an additional task for the day you need to accomplish.
As the author and spiritual master Amit Ray frames it, “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” So, put in the work and practice mindfulness diligently until it becomes second nature.
Then, you’ll find the days to be loads better, and life is more in line with how you’d like it to be.
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