“Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.”
Life manifests in the present. Yet, most of the time, our minds ruminate about the past or dwell into the future. We let the present slip away. As children, we fantasise about being an adult; as working professionals, we keep on yearning for the financially independent retired life. We start thinking about our weekend on a Thursday and get anxious about Monday morning from Sunday afternoon onwards.
Have you ever had a conversation with a person without really ‘being’ with him? I have- a number of times.
You Are More Than Your Thoughts
You might be struggling with time management, but your mind always races ahead of time. The world is replete with distractions resulting in our mind being always full of thoughts, and we don’t live in the moment.
The wind will not change its direction; it is we who will have to adjust our sails. We need to consciously develop the habit of mindfulness- a state of conscious, open and active attention to the present moment. It entails the realisation of your thoughts as they are without taking flight or fright. Instead of letting your life go, you are living in the moment.
Mindful people are more empathetic, exuberant, motivated and secure. They have less stress, and their zest for life is contagious.
Mindfulness is a state of achievement and can become an unconscious habit when practised over time. Here are a few tips for cultivating this habit:
Meditation is one of the best ways to learn to stay in the moment. Breathing meditation, walking meditation, and mantra meditation are some of the most common forms of meditation; you can choose whichever works best for you. The fundamental principle in all remains the same- sit quiet, follow your breathing and bringing the mind back to your breathing when it wanders off. Meditating as little as 5-10 minutes every day has a profound impact on mindfulness. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.
2. Deep Breathing
Unlike meditation, deep breathing entails taking short breaks of 10-15 seconds at regular intervals during the day and focusing on your breath. Pause whatever you are doing, observe your breath and resume your activity after a specific gap. Especially useful under stressful situations like getting stuck in traffic. It is akin to taking your foot off the accelerator while driving- a refreshing break without anyone noticing it or affecting your output.
3. Mono Tasking
You are at your best in a state of flow- when you concentrate on one activity to exclude everything else. It will produce better quality results while reducing your stress levels. If you are making that report while checking your Facebook page, emails, and message notifications, you are not giving sufficient attention to the task at hand. The quality of work gets adversely affected, and you begin to feel stressed out about having so much to do in so little time!
Choose one task for a certain period, and be completely engaged in it during that time. You will get more done and feel a sense of achievement.
4. Become aware of mundane tasks
We do so many tasks in an auto-pilot mode in our life- taking a shower, brushing our teeth, washing the dishes, etc.- that we only tend to notice them in their absence. Start to be conscious of each task while you perform them; enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the activities while you undertake them. Cultivate the habit of deep breathing while you are waiting for something.
5. Keep the phone on one side while speaking with others
How many times do you check the phone while being with your family or friends? Don’t be so busy that you cannot take time to make the other person feel important. Digital connections can never replace the social bonds that we share with our relations.
The best gift you can give to the other person is your attention; be mindful of the time you spend with others.
I can honestly say that cultivating mindfulness will have a tremendous positive impact on your life, as it has on mine. You will be less impulsive, make better decisions and be much happier than before. Go for it.