With the ongoing demands that many of us face it can seem hard, if not impossible to increase mindfulness and live live to the fullest. Stress from work life, family life and the incessant never ending list of chores can take its toll on our mental health and wellbeing, but the truth is that even the most mundane tasks can be amazing if you are truly present. More important, being mindful is undoubtedly one of the only ways to enjoy life to the fullest. This post will share with you 10 ways to increase mindfulness.
10 Ways to Increase Mindfulness
1. Do one thing at a time. Doing too many things at once can cause chaos and disarray. Single-tasking is an art. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks all at once. This can be very hard for many people, especially moms. Try to spend at least some part of your day without multi-tasking. Also, when completing a single-task do not rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate and mindful, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task at hand.
2. Do less. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do. But you’re busy and you can’t possibly do less, right? You can. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what’s important, and letting go of what’s not. Read more: The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less.
3. Put space between things. Manage your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things too close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule for unforeseen interruptions. This allows for a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than intended.
4. Spend at least 10 minutes each day doing nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. Just sit in silence and become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Focus on your breathing and simply notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness. It’ll do you a world of good — and for such a short time. I promise, you won’t regret it!
5. Stop worrying about the future – focus on the present. As you become more aware of your thinking you may begin to notice you are constantly worrying about the future. Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment, as you will never get it back. Notice the sights and the smells, take inventory of your body and how it feels. Live it. And just remember “Worry is interest paid on trouble before it’s due!” and Ain’t Nobody got time for that!
6. Be present in Personal Connection. This is one that is not only a way to practice mindfulness, but also applies to just about everyone. I know I am guilty of interacting with my phone during social engagements. How often do you see a group full of people all engagingly staring at their phones? Beyond technology many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present and really listening and enjoying your time with that person. It’s a refreshing shot at life and it feels good to
7. Surround Yourself with Positive People. While it may be impossible to completely avoid all interactions with negative people in your life (Sorry!), you can limit exposure. Being around negative people undo feelings of peace and happiness and actually trigger the fight or flight response removing us mentally from the present moment. This response causes the sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones within our body. Spending the majority of your time with positive people helps to empower you to grow. If you have a negative person in your life who you cannot avoid it is best to try to solve the underlying issue behind the negativity.
8. Eat Slowly and Enjoy Your Food. Hectic schedules can mean that most food is crammed down our throats in a rush. Where’s the joy in that? Eating mindfully is to savor each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well. In addition, eating the healthiest possible food that is available to you, helps our bodies and mind to function on a higher level.
9. Live slowly and savor your life. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way. Try to sit down and savor each and every moment. As I type this, for example, my kids are playing nicely together. Such a lovely and rare moment. In fact, I’m going to take a few minutes off to enjoy it. Be right back!
10. Turn Mundane Tasks into Meditation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. Taking this time to become mindful become a special time and could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house). Instead of thinking negative thoughts of the activity you bring yourself a sense of peace and relaxation.
Now rinse and repeat. This is not a quick fix. You have to continually practice the above suggestions daily. When you notice yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath. When you ask yourself, “What should I do now?”, the answer is to keep practicing. It takes 21 days to establish a habit so practicing daily will help to establish mindful habits. Increasing mindfulness is something that should be practiced often and is important for everyone in all stages of life.