“Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
You cannot change the past and you cannot decide your future. These are the two principles I always apply when I have to remind myself to practice mindfulness. The present is what matters, what I am experiencing NOW. It can be a taste, smell, sight, feeling, physical sensation, or emotion. Once I start doing that without criticizing myself or being judgmental, then I am practicing mindfulness. I always tell myself that I will never have this moment again so I must enjoy it to the full.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”- Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Here are 13 daily habits to help you practice mindfulness.
1. Start when you wake up
Start early. As soon as you are wake up, begin reflecting on the pleasure of waking, stretching your limbs and thinking about all the great things you are going to achieve today. Forget about checking email and turning on the TV news till later in the day. Who wants to ruin such an awesome start?Advertising
2. Enjoy the physical sensations
As you start your morning routine, savor the moments in the shower as the water cascades down and enjoy the drying sensation the towel gives you. Delight in the warmth of the familiar material on your skin as you get dressed. Admire yourself in the mirror.
3. Keep mindfulness in check
If you savor every moment of the day, nothing will get done and you will certainly not arrive in time for work! Apart from these practical considerations, the brain does better on short bursts of mindfulness, rather than longer sessions. This is the advice given by Marsha Lucas in her excellent book, Rewire Your Brain For Love
4. Go for a walk
“Solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking.” – Latin proverb.
Once you get into contact with nature, you will be better able to experience the wonder of nature, reflect on the beauty of it and calm your mind. Even a five minute walk, preferably in a garden or park, can do the trick.
5. Get in the flow
Some people may experience difficulty in getting into the zone because of distracting thoughts, worries and regrets. How can you quieten your thoughts? The best way is to do your favorite creative activity such as writing, drawing, cooking or playing the piano. Once you get in the flow, your thoughts are calmer and you feel more relaxed.Advertising
6. Breathe deeply
A great habit to get into is to concentrate on your breathing. Get in touch with it. As your lungs fill, remind yourself of what is happening and then when you breathe out, focus on that too. All the mental chatter just stops and this is a great mindfulness technique we should practice often during the day.
7. Focus and stop multi tasking
Did you know that multi tasking takes up 50% more of your time? Switching between tasks and never finishing them interrupts the flow, and you spend ages getting back on track again. The other downside is that errors and distractions are likely to occur. A much better idea is to focus on a single task and switch off distractions such as iPhones and emails.
8. Switch off and connect
Have you noticed how nobody looks you in the eyes anymore? That is because they are all attached to their devices – connected to the world but not to people around them. Another mindfulness technique to adopt is to switch off devices and really talk to a person, smile at them, look into their eyes as you do so. Now that is really connecting. Children, couples, and colleagues feel more accepted and closer to each other.
“I realized several years ago that I had stopped looking in my children’s eyes. And it was shocking to me.”- Pat Christen, Hope Lab CEO and parent.
9. Accept the negative feelings too
Accept the moment you are in – that is the key element in mindfulness. This also includes those negative thoughts, feelings and moods we are experiencing. Recognizing negative emotions without resisting them or trying to control them is crucial. They do not define you nor your existence.Advertising
10. Enjoy food
Mindfulness is now regarded as a possible aid in helping to reduce obesity and overeating. The secret is to be aware of all the sensations as we eat. Think about how food is the gift of the universe brought to us by an incredible network of people and natural forces working together. We can enjoy the food and pay closer attention to the smells, textures, tastes and colors of what we are eating. Try imagining that this is the first time you have tasted it! This slows the whole process, we eat less and our digestion will thank us.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University are studying how mindfulness while eating may help to reduce obesity in children and adults.
11. Try raisin meditation
Here, you use all your senses to look at a raisin and start meditating on it. Watch the video below to get a better idea of how to actually do this. This also helps to make meditation more accessible to everyone.
12. Listen to music mindfully
Music transcends all borders and is a powerful means of connecting the human race. Listening can stir powerful emotions in us and can be a healing, positive force. Before listening, relax in a comfortable position and do some breathing exercises. Relish the sounds and rhythms, get inside the track and imagine yourself dancing or waltzing to the sound waves.Advertising
“Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the [Bach’s] B Minor Mass?” — Michael Torke, composer
13. Practice loving kindness
There is now some research that shows that simply directing well-wishes and kind thoughts towards ourselves and other people can be incredibly beneficial. Read the article here to see 18 scientific reasons why this is so valuable in providing relief from suffering and cultivating compassion.
Spend some time thinking what you wish for yourself and what you want for others close to you. Try doing this for about 30 seconds before you fall asleep every night. This is much more effective than worrying whether your sleep aid is going to work or not!
Featured photo credit: Be mindful/David Davies via flickr.com
Last Updated on July 15, 2019
41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About
Some things in life are hard to describe, yet we can recognize them when we see them.
Love is one of those things.
True love comes in many different forms, but here are some that many of us know well.
True love means supporting those who can’t support themselves
A young man comforts his date in Times Square, New York City. Image by mbtrama
A young man holds his significant other close to him. Image by Brad Fults
A young track competitor helps one of her injured opponents over the finish line. Image from ViralNova.com
A soldier in the Korean War takes time to feed a baby kitten. Image from US Naval Insititute
It’s having the perfect selfie partner
A mother and her daughter take a selfie together. Image by Andrew Fysh
Two young girls pose for the camera. Image by Rolands Lakis
A happy couple takes a picture together. Image by Kayla Heineman
Two best friends take a selfie together. Image by Jason Wahido
Friends take a selfie together. Image by Glenn Scofield Williams
It’s all the warm fuzzies
A young man spends time with his dog on a beach. Image by Magdalena Roeseler
A pet owner hugs his dog while on a day trip in San Francisco. Image by Taro the Shiba Inu
It means having a friend to photobomb you
A boy makes a funny face as he poses for a picture with his brother. Image by Michael Bentley
A man photobombs his wife while their grandson snaps a picture. Image by Frank
Family members photobomb their relatives’ Thanksgiving day family photo. Image by Beth Scupham
A friend photobombs the photographer and their friend, the woman in the foreground of this photo. Image by Lachlan Hardy
True love means being there even when life gets unbearably hard
A family watches the Vermont National Guard depart for Afghanistan. Image by The U.S. Army
During a monsoon in the Philippines, a boy carries his dog to safety. Image by Romeo Ranoco
A man helps a woman out of her vehicle during a flood in Chalandri, Greece. Image by John Kolesidis
A woman has lunch with her husband every day, even after he’s passed away. Image from ViralNova.com
A woman hugs the mother of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Image by Spencer Platt
An Oklahoma couple pauses while trying to salvage belongings from a family member’s home after a tornado. Image by Adrees Latif
A girl puts her arm around her little brother as they wait outside of Sandy Hook Elementary after gunshots are fired. Image by Reuters.
A woman sits at her husband’s grave the day before their wedding anniversary. Image from NBC news
It means taking the time for long goodbyes
A man says goodbye to his son before deploying. Image by Official U.S. Navy Page
A South Carolina man says goodbye to his son before deploying for Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard
A Sergeant hugs both of his sons before being deployed to Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard
And cherishing reunions
A woman hugs her husband as she sees him for the first time since his deployment to Iraq. Image by The U.S. Army
A young woman hugs her significant other as he returns home for Kuwait. Image by The National Guard
A mother drops to her knees as she hugs her son on her return home from the Persian Gulf. Image by The National Guard
True love is letting yourself feel young when they’re around
Two friends on their smartphones. Image by Robert Neff
A young couple getting their picture taken. Image by db Photograph
A father plays in a sprinkler with his daughter at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image by Ben Forsberg
A young couple on a subway enjoys sharing time together, while the girlfriend’s father sneaks a photo of them. Image by Gareth Williams
A couple holds hands on a fall day. Image by David Amsler
It’s letting yourself be silly… just because they’ll enjoy it
A grandfather makes faces at the camera with his granddaughters. Image by Tim Pierce
A woman’s father wears a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt to make his daughter laugh. Image by emdot
True love is allowing yourself to show how you really feel
A young couple kisses in the back of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Image by Derek Key
Violinist Nancy Dinovo plays at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Image by Christopher Morris
True love is timeless
Friends spending some time together. Image by Cristian Bortes
A group of friends sits around a campfire eating. Image by New Old Stock
An elderly couple walks down a street together. Image by Matteo Paciotti
Featured photo credit: Matteo Paciotti via flickr.com