From our last article you’ll know that being mindful is about being aware of your inner thoughts, not ignoring your feelings and being present in the moment. But how can you actually start being mindful? 5 Top Keys To Mindfulness! says it’s all about mentally slowing down in this stressful, busy world we live in and absorbing the moment you’re in. It’s easier than it sounds but if you’re not sure where to start, read on. You might not become a Zen Master overnight, but hey, at least you’ll be on your way!
This isn’t just about connecting to a ‘higher source’ and no matter what religion (or none) you happen to be, meditation is still helpful. It’s the main way that people become mindful as you don’t need very long and it can be done anywhere.
If you have a spare 10 minutes in your lunch break and can find a quiet room, sit down and relax by focusing on the feeling of your body breathing deeply. Use apps like ‘Calm’ if you’re a beginner because these will give you some specific exercises to focus on. Meditate as often as you need to and you should feel less stressed as you go about your daily life.
2. Stop and think
One of the most important parts of being mindful is to break away from the repetitive nature of daily life. We’re all constantly busy and our minds are always stimulated. Next time you’re about to make a decision, whether it’s big or small, stop and think.
Before you buy that donut or piece of cake, stop and think about why you’re buying it. Are you buying it out of habit, because you’re craving sugar or because you’re upset about something? Think about it, accept your feelings and come up with a positive alternative. This allows you to take more control of your life and is likely to lead you to feeling more content in the long run.
3. Connect with nature
It’s common knowledge that people who live in the countryside are usually happier than those who live in cities. Taking a walk in the countryside can help you relax, detox your mind while you de-stress from the crazy busyness of everyday life.
Nature is calming and if you head out into the wilderness on your own you can give yourself a chance to be aware of your surroundings and the way you’re feeling. If you’re a gym buff try going for a run in your local park instead of on the treadmill. The outdoor ‘me time’ will do you a world of good and if you’re in the mood, hug a tree while you’re at it!
4. Do one task at a time
Multitasking causes stress because our minds become overwhelmed. We’re all guilty of multitasking because it’s the only way we know how to get through the mountain of work we have to do. Most of us check our emails whilst at work or Tweet while watching TV (guilty as charged).
Focusing on one task at a time will lead to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain and consequently make us more mindful of what we’re doing whilst extracting a much bigger sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Next time finish that project before you check Facebook.
5. Take a course
If you need a bit of help taking that first step to being mindful, or just want to enhance the skills you’ve already developed, why not go on a mindfulness course? Search online and you’re sure to get a host of results for local courses, there are actually over 1000 being offered in the UK right now!
Don’t take on a course if you’re already mega busy because this could be counter-productive by stressing you out further. But if you have a spare evening or two in the week then a course could be just what you need.
Being mindful is known to make people happier and feel more prepared to take on what life throws at them. So what have you got to lose? Try out at least one of these ways to be mindful and see how it changes the way you think about life. Who knows, it could be the best thing you do for yourself. Don’t underestimate how important it is to look after number one, if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t be much good to anyone else either; a sobering thought perhaps, but true nonetheless!