How to Be Mindful
Do you ever find yourself avoiding your meditation cushion? Or maybe you have been interested in meditation, but not sure where to begin?
Luckily, meditation and mindfulness are not one in the same. You don’t have to meditate in order to be mindful.
Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental awareness of thoughts, sensations, surroundings, and emotions, and meditation is one tool for developing mindfulness but isn’t the only tool.
When you are consciously bringing your wandering mind back to the present moment, you are cultivating mindfulness. You can do that in everyday life by tuning into your surroundings.
You can begin to experiment with using your senses to notice these new things as you move throughout your day and see what happens.
Click HERE to begin learning how today!
1. Take a Mindful Sip
Stop for a moment to savor your morning beverage of choice. Smell and examine your coffee or tea before taking a slow sip. Close your eyes and wholly feel and taste the liquid on your tongue before swallowing. You can take a pause and be mindful in the morning and this can help set the tone for your day.
2. Practice Gratitude
An attitude of gratitude can shift your thinking and energy into a positive space. Practicing gratitude, whether you keep a journal, or mentally make a list each night, helps keep you mindful of the all the good in your life.
3. Consciously Commute
If you drive to work, try tuning into the feel of your steering wheel in your hands, and notice the air conditioning or heat against your skin. Staying mindful that you don’t have to react when you are cut off or if someone doesn’t use their blinker. Being mindful that you don’t have to react or get angry keeps your energy positive. If you’re on a train, subway, or bus, first pat yourself on the back for taking public transit. Then tune into the feel of your seat and take in your surroundings by noticing who is with you and what you can see and hear.
4. Look Up and Notice Your Surroundings
Take a walk outside and pause. Take in the sky above you. Are there clouds? What do they look like? Do you see any birds or trees? Can you see something in the sky that you’ve never seen before? Stay mindful of the beauty around you.
5. Slowly Munch on Lunch
Before digging into your lunch, take a moment to examine it. What colors and textures do you see? What does it smell like? Take a small bite - noticing what the food feels like. Is it crunchy or soft? What tastes do you observe? Does the flavor change as you swallow? Try to take several slow and mindful bites. If your mind wanders, try to bring it back to the process of eating. By doing this, you will digest your food more efficiently and will be less likely to overeat.
6. Take a Hike
Stretch your legs in the afternoon with a walk around the block and allow your senses to engage with your environment. Can you see something that you’ve never seen before, whether it’s on the ground, on the side of a building, or high in the sky? What do you hear? Tune into each step and notice what your legs do and how they feel with each step. Also notice your feet and the important job they have.
7. Scan Your Body
Take a moment to close your eyes and tune into your body. Start at your toes and move up, observing each body part until you reach the top of your head. Be curious about what you find, noticing any tension, lightness, heat, pain, or other sensations. Notice if the mind wanders and creates stories about those feelings. If so, see if you can bring the mind back to the sensations without judging them.
In my group meditations, I regularly start with a mindful body scan with my students. It helps them connect to where they are holding tension and stress and then they can mindfully release it.
Start your meditation practice today!
Click HERE to learn how.
8. Notice Your Social Media Use
Do you have a habit of checking Facebook or Instagram without even knowing it? Start tuning into those habits and see if you can be more intentional with your time. Once again, don’t judge yourself for the time you spend on social media, simply observe it.
9. Appreciate the Sunset
Step outside to take in the unique colors of the sunset and try to notice something you’ve never spotted before. Is there a cloud shape that reminds you of something or someone? What colors do you see? How does the air temperature change once the sun dips below the horizon?
10. Listen to the Sound of Silence
As you make your final moves toward bedtime, stop, close your eyes, and listen. What do you hear, and what don’t you hear? Can you notice the sounds or silence with curiosity, allowing your ears to hear the texture of each sound?
Practicing mindfulness throughout your everyday life can help train the mind to focus on the present, with or without cushion. Observe what happens when you make noticing a priority.
Begin your meditation practice TODAY!
Nikki Bucktead, MA, CLC, PMP is a Certifed Life Coach as well as a Certified Meditation and Ayurveda Instructor through the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. She also provides consulting to small and large business regarding their Workplace Wellness Programs. She owns Transformative Coaching & Consulting Service located in Huntington Beach, CA www.nikkibuckstead.com