I didn’t want to be all glum at the start of this post but c’mon, lets be real! We get distracted from the present moment. There’s no point sugar coating it. I mean, we aren’t going to develop mindfulness if we aren’t real about things, right? There’s so much that goes on around us every day, no wonder we sometimes feel anxious, stressed and as though our creativity has been smushed down to a pea-sized amount. We get drawn from ourselves and what we are doing, and dropped into this world of ‘yesterday’, ‘tomorrow’ and the vast space of the hustle and bustle around us.
Ok, now for the happier and not-so-glum part… there’s hope – HALLELUJAH, SHE SAID THERE’S HOPE. What if I told you concentration on the present moment and worrying less can come from mindfulness and even better yet, mindfulness on a day-to-day basis through actions we already do?
I have started to be more conscious of 5 daily actions which have made me feel a lot more ‘there’. This has stemmed from a question I asked myself; ‘what can I do every day to practice mindfulness?’ and therefore I thought it was only right to share with you what I found. So here goes, as the first post of this ‘Be Mindful Project’ series, 5 daily actions we should be more conscious of to develop mindfulness.
BREATHING: Ok, I’m not saying we forget to breathe but we do forget to pay attention to our breathing. Simply paying attention to our breath; our inhale and our exhale has a cleansing and calming effect. Does it start from your chest or stomach? How deep are each of your breaths? How long do they last for? We often take-for-granted this daily action however its nature has the ability to rid us of yesterday’s worries and tomorrow’s anticipation, and bring our mind back to the present. Sit still, close your eyes and feel the every movement of your breathing.
SENSES: Often we rush about our daily lives and forget to take in our environment. Have you ever watched a sunset and appreciated the deep orange colour that covers the sky? Have you ever had a bite of your favourite food and really indulged in its taste and smell? I bet in these moments you feel calm yet excited, you feel euphoria yet you feel present. This is down to your senses and being conscious of them. What can you hear? What can you see? What can you feel? What can you smell? What can you taste? Realise you and your body are present in the surroundings your senses are detecting. Mindfulness doesn’t have to come from a still and quiet environment, it can come from an awareness of what’s around you.
WAKING UP: I am naturally a morning person; I love the fresh and crisp feeling, I always work better and I naturally feel more upbeat, however I’m sure like many of you, pulling myself out of bed is the most painful thing. Often this is because our bed is just too comfy to move from, however most of the time we wake up, realise we have to actually get up and moan. Yes, I know you do it, even if it is to yourself. Instead, one positive thought when you wake up can go a long way. Take time to identify the positive reasons why you should get up and gradually, before you know it, getting up becomes a lot easier.
BODY SCAN: Being aware of your body and how it feels is something we can practice each and every day. We all get aches, pains and tingles; instead of brushing over them and rushing off for your day, draw an awareness to them. Sit down, close your eyes and give yourself a body scan. Take a note of every sensation and the position of your body with no judgement, just simply an acknowledgement of their existence.
DISTRACTIONS: Ok, so earlier I said anxiety and stress can stem from distractions so we should avoid them. Don’t worry, I’m not going to contradict myself. How are we to develop mindfulness if we don’t have distractions to learn from? It’s all about learning with them. And my best advice, become a mountain. You what? Mindfulness is the practice of stillness in the present moment. When a distraction comes your way or you start to think about tomorrow or yesterday; don’t hold such thoughts in your mind, instead let them pass you by and pull yourself back to the task at hand.
We often don’t consciously think about these daily actions. However maybe it’s time to start? Become aware of each one; the power your breathing has to cleanse, the ability your senses have to detect your surroundings, the understanding of how your body feels, one positive thought every morning and the strength of letting distractions simply pass you by. Each develop an awareness of the present moment, ultimately reducing stress and anxiety. A remedy found in your day-to-day life.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and it helps you develop mindfulness on a day-to-day basis. I am trying to be more conscious of each of these actions and I’m already feeling the benefits! Comment below if you have any other tips on how to turn daily actions into mindfulness!