There are many ways to be present and mindful, but really all that you need to do is choose to be mindful and present more often. Since it's hard to lift your head up, most people need something to do that triggers a mindfulness moment. These tips are just ways for you to signal to yourself that it is time to fully engage in life.
Mindfulness will improve your life. Just being in the moment without judgment will increase your capacity for empathy and help you connect with others. But it feels like such an ordeal. It can be intimidating to fully immerse yourself in life. Plus, it kinda involves feeling all the feels (something a ton of us avoid with the "noise"). The good news is, it's not hard to do and feelings won't kill you. It just takes practice. Use our 10 tips to be more mindful and present!
One of the simplest, most essential activities in mindfulness practice is focusing on your breathing. Whenever you feel lost and distracted, stop and focus on your breathing. Feel the air going in, feel your body reacting: your heartbeat speeding up, then slowing back down on the exhale. Inhale, exhale, and be 100% there for it.
Turn Everything Off
Power outages are alarming at first. Confusing. Everyone gets up to investigate. Is the rest of the block out? But after the initial surprise, you feel a bit…calm. It’s so quiet. It’s easier to breathe, almost. That constant background noise has stopped. Create that calm for yourself once in a while by turning off the podcasts, the YouTube, the alarms, and the alerts. Listen to the sounds of your body and your surroundings. Whatever there is to hear, listen. You have freed up your brain from those distractions.
Choose a small window of time to be 100% present. You can set an alarm for this, or choose a moment that happens every day, like the moment you stand up out of bed, maybe. It's up to you. Just choose something that you do every day. Start slowly by being fully present for just 30 seconds at first, then increase the duration over time when you feel ready. This is also a good practice for late afternoon when many people have an energy dip.
Bonus activity: Be 100% present for a loved one, like your mom, S.O., or kids when they come home at night. People love being listened to and heard, and the interactions will be so much richer.
Do One Thing At a Time
Multi-tasking, that prized KSA, is a myth; forcing your brain to "multitask" literally damages it. What you are really doing is switching tasks, which is less efficient and less effective. You will do all of the multiple tasks poorly compared to how you would have performed if you had focused on one at a time, everything will take longer, and you will feel stressed. Give tasks your full attention.
Use a Meditation App
Apps can help you build up your mindfulness abilities. Although the most popular and helpful ones cost a little money, they're worth it if you need a guide and are goal-oriented. Check out reviews before committing.
Mindfulness and meditation apps often have recorded meditations for a price, but there are also free guided meditations online, like on meditationoasis.com.
Listen to Your Body
The concepts of mindfulness and being fully present are rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism; they first came to the West through the work of Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s. Kabat-Zinn had studied the practice under masters Philip Kapleau and Thich Nhat Hanh and then used it to help patients with chronic pain, but you can also practice body mindfulness to check in with your body and self.
Take a Walk
Think about how thrilled dogs are to be outside. they are definitely 100% aware of what's going on out there. Go into your walk with this discovery mindset that dogs and toddlers have. When you pay attention, you will see the world with fresh eyes.
Yoga is so tied in with mindfulness and being present. It's all about listening to your body, controlling your breath, and really focusing on the movements and the positions. If classes aren't an option, check out the tons of great videos on YouTube.
Learn Something New
Remember how much focus you needed when you learned to tie your shoes as a kid? Learning new things takes your full attention. Build new skills or crafting techniques. The bonus is that you will now have this whole new perspective and skillset!