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How to Gain an Immediate Experience of Mindfulness


How to Gain an Immediate Experience of Mindfulness


Standing up for your Mind

As a way to gain an immediate experience of living and abiding in the moment, I have started to introduce the practice of Mindful standing in the live Meditation classes that I teach.

Mindfulness practice is sometimes seen as having to focus exclusively on mind training exercises that we engage in, when we’re sitting down. Of course this is an important element, however it can be more far reaching than this.

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If we are creative we can introduce Mindfulness training to all elements of our life, so our practice starts to become holistic and integrated. One formal practice that can help us to start this process is Mindful Standing. Learning this technique gives us an appreciation that Mindfulness is much more that sitting down and closing our eyes.

If we check our everyday life, much of the time we are standing. Standing up can sometimes seem like a bit of a chore, something that we have to do when we are waiting, or there is no seat available. With this skillful, standing practice we can learn to transform the times that we stand into a Mindfulness training. No longer will we feel the need to immediately look at our mobile phone when we are waiting for a train or bus, no longer will standing and waiting be frustrating or tiring.
The importance of this practice became apparent recently, when I arrived at Manchester train station and stood up from my seat awaiting to leave the train.  There was a delay of around three minutes with the opening of the door. I couldn’t go back to my seat and I couldn’t move forward. I just had to stand there.  It dawned on me that now is the time to practice Mindful standing. Rather than thinking about what I need to be doing in the future or getting frustrated with the situation, just simply take the opportunity to abide in the present moment.
So how did I practice Mindful Standing and how can we practice?

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Follow these tips to get started:

  • Stand up in a posture with both legs parallel to your shoulders and your feet pointing straight in front of you.
  • Bend your legs very slightly.
  • Feel the sensation of your feet against the floor.
  • Experience the sensation of being rooted like a tree in the floor.
  • Allow your back to straighten and your shoulders to relax.
  • Put your right hand in your left and place them on your navel (if you have something in one of your hands then simply place one hand on your navel.)
  • Spend a few moments, checking in with your body and noticing any sensations.
  • Draw your attention fully into your body.
  • Enjoy the experience and joy of being a human being, abiding in a human body.
  • Notice the movement of your hands – they arise and dissolve in time with your breath.
  • Follow this experience for a short time.
  • Allow your breath to bring you into the present moment.
  • For as long as you feel comfortable abide with this experience.

For me after doing this practice for a few minutes in Manchester while I was waiting for the train door to open, I was left with a feeling of presence, renewed energy and focus. With my mind and body having a recharge in this way, the shape of the rest of my day was altered and improved.

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If I am guiding this practice formally then I will usually have the entire session lasting five minutes. However with creative thinking this practice can be shortened to three seconds. Use it, if you have a few moments to wait in a queue. It’s like we’re taking a quick check-in to the present moment.

One brief Mindful standing practice could alter the course of our day, week, month, year, or even life.  Those moments when we get really frustrated or angry with someone, which can affect a relationship, position at work, someone’s faith of confidence in us, can be pacified with a few moments of Mindfulness.

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So rather than the times in our life when we are waiting, just being dead time that we fill with nervous energy, they become Mindful moments that bring peace, calm and focus into our world.
Also standing has a very beneficial effect on our physical health, in today’s world where much of the time we are sitting, companies and business are now encouraging their staff to stand, sometimes when working. With an growing increase in desks available that allow us to stand in the office.

So next time we hop on a bus, tram or train, let’s think twice before jumping for that seat or being distracted by our mobile phone, stand up for our mind and try a Mindfulness practice!

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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