In college I took a class called meditation and mindfulness. Before the class I had never really meditated except for maybe as part of a yoga class. I was absolutely amazed by the impact this class had on me. Before I learned about meditation and mindfulness I had heard about people in my life who meditated and about the secret words they used to meditate on and how they had to learn to meditate and it seemed like a distant cult and something that not everyone could ever be a part of.
The class focussed on the psychology of meditation and mindfulness and making it accessible to everyone.
Many of us live in busy cities and lead busy lives with little time for taking care of ourselves and even just appreciating being alive. Time goes by so quickly and most people focus only on future plans or things that stuck with them from the past which leaves no time or mind space to focus on the present moment. I found that practicing mindfulness and simple meditation Helped me to manage my stress and stop worrying about the future to make the most of the present. Recently I have become extra stressed and busy so I am turning back to some of the tricks I learned!
5 ways to be mindful everyday:
- Walking Meditation– Some people (me!) have a lot of trouble sitting still. You don’t have to sit on the floor folded like a pretzel to meditate. I learned the walking meditation from urban Mindfulness by Jonatham S. Kaplan.
- Turn off electronics
- Plan where you are going to walk
- Pick a simple phrase to repeat like a count one-two, one-two or count your steps!
- Start walking and say a syllable per step in your head.
- Keep looking ahead and remaining aware of your surroundings.
- If you have to stop at an intersection pause and focus on your breathing.
- At the end of your walk take a moment to reflect on how you feel and how that walk was different from a regular walk.
2. Dishwashing Meditation-Try being mindful during simple tasks that you do everyday. When you’re washing the dishes instead of thinking about all the things you have to do or what happened that day at work don’t think about anything except how the water and soap feel on your hands and how each dish feels to hold. It sounds silly but it’s a really great way to clear your mind and be present. Try it with other simple tasks! I learned this trick from Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.
3. Mindful Eating- With busy lives rushing from one place to the next, many of us find ourselves eating while driving or mindlessly eating while watching tv. Try sitting at the table with good posture just eating while not doing anything else. Think about how the food tastes and what it feels like. This will not only help with mindfulness. It will also help you to not overeat and to have a healthier relationship with food.
4. Live Mindfully- When something aggravating happens, like someone cutting you off on the road or a long line when you’re late- let it go. Be mindful of what a small thing this is in the grand scheme of life. Appreciate your surroundings. We are all guilty of rushing around and not giving ourselves a moment to look around and appreciate the landscape, the people around us, the smells and the sounds. Take a moment to stop, smell, look, listen and smile at a stranger.
5. Love Mindfully- Whether it’s your partner, family or friend, we all love. Leave expectations behind and live in the moment. Put down your phone and appreciate the time you have with the people you love. Forget about silly fights and annoyances. Forget about the next step of the relationship and things you wish would happen. Live in moment and appreciate the things that make the people you love so different from you!