You probably hear it at least once a day. Mindfulness. Being ‘in the moment’.
We have many clients who struggle with depression and anxiety and as someone who has been there myself, I have found that learning to be mindful has helped me to cope with the busy life I have engineered.
I am an introvert who owns and runs a client based business, I’m a high achiever and I’m a mum of a five and six year old. Mindfulness for me is a way of appreciating where I am right now. It’s a way of connecting and staying in the moment. Not the future or the past. It’s not thinking about what I need to do tomorrow, this afternoon or next year or thinking about what should have happened yesterday or that silly thing I wish I didn’t say to the barista this morning.
It’s about really feeling and experiencing everything about this moment, right here, right now..
When you are mindful you appreciate how each of your senses are feeling in that moment.
Have you ever been talking to someone and you can tell they just aren’t listening? It’s obvious that they are either distracted by something else or too busy thinking about what they are going to say next. It is so frustrating! Imagine if you had that same conversation with that person and they were being mindful in that moment. It feels great to have someone’s 100% undivided attention.
Imagine all the things you miss when you are distracted… Did you see that amazing flock of birds fly overhead or were you too busy walking and texting?
So how to get to a mindful state? I’m not suggesting that mindfulness can be achieved 100% of the time or even 50% of the time in the beginning – you will find it difficult to do and will have to remind yourself a few times throughout the day to get in the zone but after a little while you will find yourself doing it without being conscious of it and notice that you have more and more mindfulness moments throughout the day.
I’ve developed some ways to achieve my zen mindfulness whenever and wherever I can.
Here are my top 6 tips for achieving mindfulness each day:-
Try doing one thing at a time
This is a tricky one for busy mums and I know you’re all probably saying ‘I’m too busy’ but just give it a go. Slow down and concentrate on the task at hand. If you are driving, drive. If you are wiping the kitchen bench, wipe the bench. Like the Zen proverb says: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” Notice each body movement as it happens. By slowing down, it will actually make you more efficient at achieving what you want to achieve. One thing at a time.
Focus on tasks
With small children the bathroom is rarely a quiet space but when it is, try and have a mindful moment whether it be brushing your teeth, doing your hair or applying your makeup. My favourite is in the shower. Close your eyes and concentrate on the water falling on your skin. Listen to the sound of the water pouring from the shower head and falling on the floor. Notice the smell of the soap or shampoo. Become aware of your breath as you breathe in and out. Stay here for as long as you can (water restrictions in mind).
Talk to someone as if you are the only two people in the room
Sometimes it’s tricky to just listen without thinking about what is the appropriate thing to say or if you are distracted by just being really, really busy but trust me, you will have better conversations this way. Notice the person’s face and how they hold themselves. Reading body language can often tell you more than words can. Really look into their eyes and block out all the other things going on around you. This is so powerful in any relationship but especially with your significant other and your children. I assure you that your relationships with them will only improve.The best memories involve conversations with my kids when I know I have given them 100% focus and as a result I remember everything about the moment. Their little faces, their voice and how I felt.
Time alone in your car
After you have dropped the kids off, take 5 minutes to just sit in the car and enjoy the silence. (5 minutes will not make you late) Turn your phone on silent, turn the radio off, close your eyes and breath. I can’t tell you how many times I have used the car to meditate. Sit comfortably, place your hands on your knees and concentrate on the feeling of your weight in the car seat. Again, notice as you breath in and breath out.
I have become a bit of a Yoga fanatic lately and that is because I can combine my love of exercise with much needed peace and quiet and mindfulness. Yoga is amazing for both body and mind and after a few classes you will learn the poses that you can do at home so you don’t need to schedule a class to get your daily workout. Its no wonder people do this daily.
Try to sit and eat without doing other tasks. This is a big tip for weight loss too. Take a bite and chew and appreciate the taste and texture. Notice the fragrance of your food. Pay attention to the sound of your cutlery as it cuts and picks up your next bite. Take your time and enjoy your meal. You may even find you eat less and you may also notice when you are eating because you are stressed or bored.
Image via Unsplash
Adopting these techniques has really helped me and I hope they can help you to be more present and enjoy the life you live in the here and now. It’s also great to take time out and treat yourself to a relaxing facial or massage, why not book yourself in?