What is mindfulness? I’ve asked myself this question several times over the years. To be honest, it took me a while to really understand what mindfulness meant to me. In the wonderful world of wellness, mindfulness has become a buzzword. Something that is put on coffee mugs, sweatshirts, and hashtags. This new culture of mindfulness started felt empty to me so its something I didn’t bring up in my teaching for a long time because I felt fake saying it.
I’ve come to realize that mindfulness is a concept. And like with most concepts, it means slightly differently to each individual. While writing this blog post, I looked for the modern definition of mindfulness and found 20 different versions of it. Each one talks about the concept slightly differently. (See here)
Reasons why mindfulness is popular
- Technology has given us exposure to the extensive world of self-care and well-being
- Social media influence
- The search for a sense of peace and wellbeing
- Devices taking over basic everyday life
- Lack of balance due to many reasons
- Living outside the body in our attention
Benefits of mindfulness?
There are many benefits of mindfulness. Nowadays there’s more research being done to figure out the effects of mindfulness. But here are the benefits of mindfulness at a glance
- A key element in fighting stress
- Improves ability to deal with stress
- Improves emotional regulations
- Enhances Mood
- Leads to higher brain functioning
- Lowers blood pressure
- Experience a sense of calm and being still internally
- Improved attention and focus
- Better memory
- A sense of overall joy and well-being
- Lower levels of anxiety
What is mindfulness according to me?
Mindfulness is the act of being in the present moment – witnessing and experiencing all that is going on – within us and around us. To not race to a distant past or the future in our heads but to live in the present moment fully aware. Consciously aiming to be our highest self in every situation.
5 easy tips to be more mindful…
Develop better phone and screen habits
Try to not start your day staring at your phone first thing when you wake up. Let your day start without a screen and social media. There is a growing body of research that talks about the harmful effects of phones for our physical and mental health. Phone addiction is considered to be a real thing. And if so, millions of us are addicted to it. If you need to read in the mornings or do something, try developing a steady morning routine instead.
Mini-meditation breaks during the day
This is something I just started doing off late and have been loving it. After a couple of hours at work, instead of grabbing my phone to browse social media and see what everyone is up to. I now have started to sit with eyes closed with a timer for 5 minutes. I turn my focus to my breath and try to not get tangled in my ever existing web of thoughts and emotions. This acts as a mini pick me up day and barely takes anything away from you. This will boost your focus and productivity too. Add reminders on your smart devices if you think you will not remember to do this on your own. Use technology to empower your daily habits
Move your body
There is nothing better than getting out of your mind and into your body. Even if its only for 5 minutes. Try to every hour or two, get off of your chair and move – it doesn’t need to be fancy. Could be even a crazy wild dance (unless you have people around you – lol) but for a couple of minutes turn your attention to your body and how you experience your body at that moment. This too will act as a quick energizer and improve one’s ability to be mindfulness
Set the intention to be mindful
Start your day with the intention to be a little mindful. It may be hard to do a lot initially. I like to set a goal to be intentional when I drive to my yoga studio to look around, enjoy the drive and experience just being instead of getting lost in my thoughts. We’ll all that had experience of reaching somewhere or doing something without realizing when and how we did it. I also use my yoga practice or gym workout or reading books as an opportunity to be mindful in short spans. This will gradually extend into other areas of your life. Choose one or 2 things that you enjoy and start being mindful in small pockets of time.
Less is more…
Remember that being distracted is normal. Just because you are unable to concentrate or you end up drifting away from being mindful is okay. Just notice, that you are getting distracted and then redirect your focus. Doing this repeatedly will help you become more mindful in the long run.
Let me know in the comments below if you tried any of these mindfulness tips or if you have your own ritual that you follow? Hope this helps! Have a wonderful time being mindful.