Mindfulness is all about an appreciation for the present moment, examining who we are, and cultivating a sense of unity with ourselves and the world around us. Many try to adopt a mindful lifestyle in order to reduce stress and maintain a sense of self and peace amidst a busy and hectic schedule.
By introducing some practices and routines into your life, you can improve your awareness and get into the habit of understanding your own mind and how it influences your perceptions and actions. Here are a few of the practices that you should consider picking up.
Yoga is a great practice for slowing down and turning inside yourself. This is why focusing on the breath is such an important element, as it brings our attention to what is happening in the moment, and away from all the other distractions in life. Try a new yoga pose every day to bring new energy and awareness to different parts of your body, while also focusing on the body as a whole. You can also use these techniques to help cope with uncomfortable sensations during challenging positions.
Practicing mindfulness on the mat will make it easier for this state of mind to start flowing into other activities. As a result, distractions and conflicts in life will become easier to overcome.
Turn Chores Into Rituals
Daily tasks that we often think of as mundane can become dreaded chores or burdens. While cleaning the house or doing yard work, we try to escape those present moments by thinking of what we’d rather be doing or like to do later. Instead, these tasks should be treated more ritualistically.
When scrubbing, sweeping, or dusting, focus on the repetitive, rhythmic motion of your hands. Also, be attentive to the results of your actions and take joy in watching the dirt, dust, and debri lift due to your efforts. Happiness is always available in our lives, practice finding it in these conditions.
Take In Life’s Details
Take time to recognize all the beauty or details in the present moment, and try to do this daily. If you go on a walk, don’t immediately plug in your earbuds and power walk down the street. Take notice of all the colors of leaves during fall, and how the sun hits them, or the new buds and blooms during spring. Feel the cool or warm air on your skin, and soak up all the sensations being offered to you in that moment. No matter what time of year, the moon and stars serve as great inspiration for thoughtful gazing and dwelling in your own present moment of space and time.
Try Walking Meditation
Don’t be intimidated by meditation by assuming that it’s only for monks and Buddhists with years of training in mental discipline. There exist many forms of meditation, and any amount of time will benefit you — especially if done daily.
Try walking meditation by just focusing on your steps and the earth beneath you, letting go of all other thoughts and judgements. When interfering thoughts creep in, acknowledge them and let them go by bringing your attention back to your steps. When we have moments of anger, frustration, or impatience in life, we can return to a meditative state of mind by observing our emotions instead of feeding them.
Make An Altar
You can make an altar anywhere in your home to serve as reminder or source of inspiration to help you keep a present state of mind. You can use the top of a dresser, a shelf, or table to place candles, photos, statues, words of inspiration, or bells. Use your alter as a place to collect your thoughts and have a moment of contemplation at the beginning or end of each day.
When we’re out of touch with ourselves, we lose sight of our full potential. Our actions and thought process become mechanical, like knee-jerk reactions that we’ve been conditioned to. To release yourself from these patterns, keep practicing these mindful activities. Over time, mindfulness will become your natural way of being.
Featured photo credit: Yoga Master/Nathan Rupert via flic.kr