Three Ways You’re Already Practicing Mindfulness
While it’s been hyped to the max, the crux of mindfulness is very simple: be present in what you are doing.
It’s a word that’s popping up in every second post you read online, and you’ll likely fall into one of two camps: those who can’t get enough of it, or those who just ‘don’t have time’ to implement it.
I’ll admit straight away: I’m a fan. But I’ve come to notice recently that a lot of the things I do, and see everyone else do too, are basic forms of mindfulness even if we’re not trying to actively practice it.
So today I’m sharing three ways that you’re probably already using mindfulness without even realising.
HEADPHONES IN, TUNING OUT:
I saw this every single day on my commute to work. People get on to the train, put their headphones in, close their eyes and tune out. While it may be viewed as anti-social, I’ve noticed something more. It’s a way of turning off the white noise. I could easily have finished work, sat down on the train, opened my laptop or notebook and let my brain keep buzzing. But there comes a point where you need to actively switch off.
When you put on your favourite song, block out the thoughts and just sit and listen, you are forcing yourself to be in the present moment. You focus on the words, the sounds and nothing more. If you can become more focused on just being in that moment next time you are listening to music, you will find yourself actively, and easily, practicing mindfulness.
A DAMN GOOD SHOWER:
One of my favourite times of day is getting into the shower. There is something about the warmth that envelops me as I step under the water and feel it flow from the top of my head down to my feet. I breathe deeply and relax the muscles I didn’t even realize were tense. It’s only recently come to my attention that this is mindfulness in action – it turns out I’ve been practicing it for years. A shower is the perfect chance for you to literally and metaphorically wash the day off. Next time you jump in, take note of how the water feels when it hits your skin, how the shampoo suds and notice the smell of your soap or cleanser. Being present in what you are doing right here and right now is the very essence of mindfulness. A shower is a time you can use each day to not only get clean (kind of important) but also step back, reconnect and be stress-free for a moment.
THAT FIRST BREATH OF FRESH AIR
This might sound like a stretch but I assure you, it’s at the crux of what mindfulness is all about. You know that moment you first step outside in the morning, or from work or after being stuck in a car for two hours? You know the feeling when you take that involuntary deep breath and suck in as much fresh air as you can? That’s mindfulness. That’s consciously embracing, even if just for a second, that you are outside, alive and awake. You are conscious of the moment you are experiencing and allow yourself to feel it.
I had a little ritual when I used to commute to the city each day. Every night as the train pulled into my stop and I stepped off, I would instantly take three deep breaths. The station was surrounded by thick vegetation that made the air smell like rainforest. It was one of my favourite parts to my day when I would breath in that fresh, pure smell and feel as far away from the concrete jungle as possible. It was mindfulness 101 and I didn’t even know it.
While I know this post isn’t really trying to teach you anything new, I thought it might help you be aware of how easy it is to incorporate a mindful approach to your everyday life. It doesn’t have to be an allocated amount of time, you don’t have to meditate, you don’t even need act differently because the chances are you are already practicing it.
Mindfulness is not about becoming a certain type of person. It’s purely about being aware of the moments that make up your day and life. The beauty of it is that the moment you consciously start to practice it (from the second you put your head phones in to the moment you jump in the shower) you start to notice it throughout the rest of your day as well. Your mind can become clearer, more tolerant of people and stress, and you learn how to shut off when you need to (read: when you’re in bed trying to turn off the three hour circus of thoughts spinning around in your head).
Take note of the moments throughout your day that you look forward to because you focus solely them; your first sip of coffee in the morning or your nightly snuggle time with your cat. Whatever works for you. Then try to consciously bring that with you to the rest of your day as well.
What are your favourite ‘mindful moments’ each day?
Let me know in the comments!