Being mindful; it sounds wonderful and important, doesn’t it? We hear about the topic of mindfulness quite a bit; however, most of us are unsure what it means, exactly. According to Oxford Language Dictionary, mindfulness is defined as: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It is easy to see why one would crave mindfulness in their life.
All of us benefit from a state of mindfulness in our lives. This is how we become less adrift in thoughts that take us away from our best human experience possible. By being attentive to the positive impact of mindfulness a calmer, clearer, and more alert presence can be offered. This feels great! Here are three of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness.
When stress and anxiety enter into our thoughts, we can manage these by focusing on our breath. This allows us to calm our minds and put things into perspective, thereby overcoming conditioned responses such as fight or flight. Here is how to give breathing a try!
- Find a relaxed, comfortable position.
- Tune into your breath.
- Slowly take a deep inhale, pause.
- Exhale slowly.
- Repeat for as long as necessary to find calmness. This could take just a minute or several.
By focusing on our breath, we can gain control of our body’s response to our thoughts and emotions, thereby gaining control of them.
- Be present
Whether we are writing, working on our computer, or making dinner we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the experience. This also applies to situations with work colleagues or loved ones: put down the phone and offer the gift of undivided attention. (The gift is really for us, as much as it is for someone else.) The key is to savor the moment’s we find ourselves in every day.
- Take breaks
Our brains can only function effectively for a certain stretch of time. We need breaks to recharge and remain productive. Consider trying the Pomodoro Technique to achieve this. This technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals. This is beneficial to our brains because it reduces fatigue, stress, and frustration, thereby increasing attention and productivity. The key is to take the break before the fatigue, stress, or frustration set in (typically 25-minute work intervals followed by 3- to 5-minute breaks). During these short breaks you can walk around, stretch, or take a minute to “smell the roses.”
Being mindful is certainly beneficial to us! What things do you do to stay in a state of mindfulness? Please share!