Mindfulness is about sitting down, quietly, preferably in the morning, eyes closed and being still with your thoughts right? Not necessarily. One of the major concepts of mindfulness is simply about being present. Allowing whatever thoughts and feelings are currently occupying you to wash over you, and learn to become comfortable with them.
However the idea of standing or sitting still in order to be mindful can, for some, either be uncomfortable or just not fit in with your schedule. And when we’re trying to make something a habit or at least regularly do it, it needs to have an element of both comfort and convenience. Which is where building mindfulness into other areas and activities in our life come into play. But before we come to that, why be mindful in the first place?
Mindfulness has become more and more mainstream, and even for the most cynical amongst us, the benefits are hard to ignore. It’s been shown that those that regularly take part in some form of mindfulness tend to be less stressed and they show better health markers in their blood tests. They also start to show a preference for the sunnier side of life, with both optimism and gratitude increased. Those that introduce mindfulness into their daily routine have also been shown to have healthier work and personal relationships and improved mental health.
So if sitting down and being mindful isn’t for you, how can you get more mindfulness into your day?
- Mindful Movement − For those who love to move, simply trying to be more ‘in the moment’ when your exercising can be your form of mindfulness. Tough workout? Focus on how your body is feeling, how quick your breath is moving. All of this counts as ‘mindfulness’.
- Walk it out − Most of us will do some form of walking each day. To the station, to the shops, walking to a friend’s house. These little stints are great, natural opportunities to be more present. Look around, observe the sounds and sights around you.
- Check-ins − Mindfulness is often about observing how your body is feeling, but when was the last time you took a second and really noticed how your breathing was today, or about what your energy levels are saying to you. Pausing, wherever you are, and just noticing how the body feels today is a great way to build some more mindful thoughts on a day to day basis. Start small, even if it’s just 1 minute at the start and end of your day.