Being mindful is the new thing these days. However, the idea of mindfulness has been around for ages. In a time where social media, work, family, social calendars, annoying fellow humans and the stresses of life are sometimes overpowering, taking time to center yourself and tune in can make a giant difference in your life and perspective on life. We have so much going on, making it even more important to create some time and energy to gain clarity so we don’t go bonkers. For the past year I have been working hard on being present and mindful. Some days are easier than others, but the effort to be mindful has definitely been paying off. Here are some of the things I do to help me keep my sh*t together and my mind focused on the present and the positive.
Say thank you. This daily ritual has utterly changed my perspective on life in a ginormous way. Not only is it a great way to put a positive spin to your day, it helps you to be in the present moment and not take things or people for granted. Also, it helps to not dwell on the negatives of life, but see the positive as often as possible. As lame as it sounds, sometimes I find myself thanking inanimate objects say for instance, my car, for getting me to and from my classes or wine for helping me relax after a long day. It sounds super dumb, but think about all the people, instances and things in our life that help us on a daily basis and we never think to give them a moment of gratitude. Try saying thank you to yourself for three things every single day…you just may see the difference it makes in your mood.
Take some deep breaths. This is basically one of my favorite things to do besides drink wine and travel the world. I find that I am often so busy going through life at warp speed that if I don’t take a few minutes to tune in, I miss out on things around me while walking around with a cluttered brain. Breathing and meditating has helped me in so many ways. One of the things I needed help with was how I react to instances, people and situations in life – both the good and the bad. I needed to learn to be more mindful of my reactions to keep myself in check and not dwell on things. Breathing has helped immensely. Here’s a little how-to to get you started.
Stop and look around you. This was the best advice I received the day before my wedding and it can be applied to all situations in life. Whether you’re at your wedding, out to dinner, at work, walking through a beautiful Tasmanian forest…stop, take a moment and look all around you. Take in the beauty of the moment and capture it in your brain. I remember stepping back from dinner during our wedding and watching our guests laugh, drink and enjoy the beautiful beachside party we planned for our loved ones and celebration. It was the best moment of my life.
Watch as you do whatever it is you’re doing. I am beyond guilty of getting in my car and then thinking, “sh*t, did I lock the back door” and then getting out of the car to double check. So much time is wasted double checking. Recently, I have been working much harder to stop and watch what it is I am doing to get it in my brain that yes, I am doing a daily task, which then helps my day proceed with less bumps in the roads. I find I am sometimes so rushed going from one thing to another, that I lose track of the little things I do daily. However, if I watch and let it register that I am completing a mindless task, it becomes something much more mindful and I don’t have to go back for seconds.
Breathe and listen. Sometimes I find myself bombarding someone I’m speaking to with questions, even before they’ve had a chance to finish answering the first five I’ve asked. I have found that if I speak and then take a breath, slow down and truly listen to what it is they are saying, the conversation moves along much smoother and I get much more out of it. Same thing can be said for engaging in a disagreement or passionate conversation, take a breath and listen to the other person. Even if you think he or she is an utter a$$hole.
Get grounded. This is advice I have read about and have been told about when it comes to moments of intense anxiety or anxiety attacks. The idea is to get grounded. Feel the earth below you, feel the walls next to you, the couch you are sitting on, the bed you are laying in. Wherever you are, if anxiety or frantic thoughts arise, stop, breathe and find your center by connecting with where you are standing and the room or space you are in. Touch the walls, touch the floor…tell yourself you are in control and that you are safe and grounded.
Tell your noodle to calm the f down. When your brain is running rampant, feeding your anxiety and causing you to freak out…tell it to shut the f up. Our main computers aka our brains, have a funny way of thinking without us wanting it to think. Or even worse, taking fears, worries and anxieties to the next level causing major stress on ourselves. Often we have to take control of our thoughts, stop them in their tracks, and refocus.
Take ten minutes to do nothing. Why not? I say, sit down or lay down and chill the heck out! Life is way too short to be a busy psycho that never takes a timeout for yourself – you deserve it. Ten minutes out of your day will not kill you, plus it’s a good way to press the reset button both mentally and physically before you set out for the rest of the day. Sit on a park bench, lay on the couch, chill out in your car…just try to find something to not do for ten minutes. Just breathe.
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