Practising mindfulness is essential if you want to stay sane and healthy. Too much stress and not enough down time can lead to long term health problems as well as anxiety and depression. Being mindful is difficult in a world where our attention is constantly in demand. We have more information available to us than ever before and in some ways, having more choice can be a bad thing.Learning to shut off from the world and retreat for quiet and calm is a great skill that will keep you younger and happier than any skin creams can.
Here are a few tips for mindfulness:
1) This is one that I use regularly. When you are in your car, put on a favourite song and do your best to listen to the lyrics. I often find that two or three lines into the song I have started to think about tomorrow or have become preoccupied with some worry or another. As soon as I realise that I have disengaged, I put the song back to the beginning and start again.
This is a simple exercise that we can all do and it’s a great way to practise mindfulness. Being present in the moment fully is something that many of us find tough. Our brains are programmed to be busy and to fire off signals constantly.
The more you can engage your five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) the less time your brain has to focus on stray random thoughts. You can practise mindfulness when you are brushing your teeth. Focus on each tooth, be aware of your posture, of your feet on the floor. Take in all the sensations. You can do the same when you have a bath or shower. Focus on the water touching your skin. Use bubble bath and see how many bubbles you can count!
When you are in a restaurant, chew slowly and really taste the food instead of wolfing it down. Slow down and take in every moment.
Another tip is to sit still for fifteen minutes and practise disengaging from your thoughts. When a random thought begs for attention, visualise a large mental broom sweeping it away. I sometimes imagine a smooth marble floor with an emblem in it, I see thoughts as dust and dirt covering up the emblem and I use the virtual mental broom to sweep the emblem clean so that I can see it again. Do whatever works for you but try not to get caught up in thinking. Don’t let it take you off on a mental journey that you don’t want to go on.
Mindfulness is a great tool to help you become a better thought manager. The better you get at controlling your thinking the happier and calmer your life will become.