Let’s start with a simple question – what does it mean to be mindful?
Being mindful means being more present and aware of each passing moment of your day. By practicing mindfulness, you learn how to appreciate life and make every minute count.
So, if you wish to find peace in this over-stimulated, fast-paced world we live in, it’s crucial to introduce mindfulness into your life. Here are 5 effective techniques that can help you out.
1. Pause and breathe
We are aware that your day is busy, that you have a lot on your mind, and that taking a break is nowhere to be seen on your to-do list. However, you might be surprised to hear that taking some time off will do wonders for your productivity. If you dedicate as little as 20 minutes a day to practice mindful meditation, you will give yourself a chance to destress and become much more focused on your daily tasks.
While meditating, focus on your breathing and try to pay attention to every breath you take. That’s the easiest way to stay mindful of the present moment and practice awareness.
2. Stop multitasking
While it is true that technology makes our lives so much easier by facilitating multitasking, it’s also true that multitasking is eating away our productivity. In fact, by constantly switching between tasks we are becoming 40% less productive than when we are focused on a single task at hand.
So, whenever you start feeling overwhelmed, stop, re-focus your thoughts, shift your attention to a single task, and be mindful of what you are doing and how it makes you feel. There is a strong relationship between mindfulness and creativity, better concentration, higher efficiency, and an increased ability of your mind to learn new things. In other words – being present in the moment really pays off.
3. Focus on gratitude
No matter what you’re doing – cleaning the bathroom, eating, drinking tea, walking, doing yoga, washing your hair, or ironing your clothes – focus on that experience and take time to be grateful. Each chore is a possibility for you to see, feel, touch, or learn something new about yourself and the world around you, so don’t miss out on the chance to live your life to the fullest.
For example, stop using smart devices, reading newspapers, or watching TV when you’re eating. Instead, practice awareness and be mindful of the food on your plate. Focus on its texture, colors, and flavors, and think about the journey each ingredient had to take before it became part of your meal.
4. Silence the world around you
Silence is essential when practicing mindfulness, especially if you’re a beginner, so learn to embrace it. Let’s face it, we are living in an era of noise pollution. Traffic, airplanes, radio, TV, phones, and the endless chattering of people all produce noise that surrounds us even throughout the night. What’s more, we got so used to this type of pollution that we often find the silence uncomfortable.
However, we should all learn how to enjoy and appreciate it. Create a quiet corner in your home where you can sit and meditate without being interrupted by loud or sudden noises. Once your ears adapt to the quiet, you’ll start to hear many different, familiar sounds in the distance, like the wind or chattering of the birds. Such gentle disruptions are ideal for practicing the art of mindfulness.
5. Interact with others
For the most part, mindfulness is an introspective activity that revolves around you and your perception of the world. However, there are times when you can and should think about how your actions and behaviors influence those around you. Being mindful of others and trying to do something nice for them is one of the most rewarding experiences you may have.
Mindfulness goes hand in hand with compassion and greater understanding of others, so not only does this practice help you as an individual, but it’s also beneficial for your friends, family, and colleagues as well.
To sum up
Practicing mindfulness has a multitude of benefits for you and your loved ones. It teaches you how to enjoy every moment of your life, how to listen to yourself and others, and how to be more grateful, compassionate, effective, and productive. Essentially, mindfulness teaches you how to live.