How to bring more mindfulness into your life

How to bring more mindfulness into your life

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” ~ Sonia Ricotti

I’ve been on a mindfulness “journey”, for lack of a better word, for a few years now. I used to be the person who’d stress and worry about everything. I found it difficult to be still, to be present. If I wasn’t thinking about the past, I was feeling anxious about the future. Then, one day, I asked myself: “where have all those years gone?

It was almost like I was running on autopilot for many years and suddenly woke up. I was so concerned with my future, that I forgot to live in the present. Do you ever get in your car after work and suddenly realize you’re already home? Or you start eating a sandwich, take a bite and then realize it’s gone and think to yourself “did I really finish it already?” Honestly, one of the most disappointing feelings, ever.

Things like these happen because we stop paying attention. We’re constantly running on autopilot, and often don’t know how to turn it off.

Practicing mindfulness can change that.

The thing about mindfulness though, is that it takes effort. It also isn’t easy at first, especially when you don’t know how to be still- and MANY of us, don’t anymore.

How to bring more mindfulness into your life

BREATHE

Concentrating on your breathing is one of the best ways to connect yourself to present moment and become more aware of what’s happening around you. Focus your attention on breathing; the inhale and the exhale. If you find yourself in a stressful situation or feel yourself feeling overwhelmed take a deep breath inhaling through your nose counting 1-2-3, hold your breath at 4-5, and exhale through your mouth at 6-7-8-9. So 3 second inhale, 2 second hold and 4 second exhale. Do this several times, it’ll gently bring your attention to your breathing and away from your anxious thoughts.

This breathing technique is something I recommend you try especially when you’re waiting for something and start feeling anxious. Like when there’s a long wait at a doctor’s office, long line at a grocery store or when you’re stuck in traffic, in a hurry and have to wait at a red light.

UNI-TASK

The thing about multitasking is this: we all think we’re good at it. Most of us aren’t. Our productivity goes down as much as 40% when we’re attempting to do several things at once. I have a bad tendency to multitask, especially when I’m at work so that’s an area where I get to practice mindfulness and train my mind the most. My work can get hectic- there’s paperwork to be completed, deadlines to be met, documents to be filed, all while the phone is ringing, emails are coming in and clients stop by. Whenever I do try to multitask, whenever I don’t give something my undivided attention- like when drafting a legal document while answering emails or sending out any requests- I almost always make mistakes. I then need to proof-read my work, correct my mistakes, read it again, only to find more small mistakes. This is what happens when you’re trying to do several different things at once; you end up being less efficient and make things complicated for yourself.

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed with work, I try to step away from everything, try to re-center and ask myself “okay, what is my priority right now? what needs to get done first?” I noticed that with practice, I need to do this less and less, but unlearning to multitask, definitely isn’t easy at first.

DON’T JUDGE YOUR THOUGHTS

Very often, when trying to be more mindful, you might find yourself getting distracted by an anxious thought. You start to notice just how many things you worry about. You then start worrying about the fact that you’re worrying, so you end up feeling anxious… about feeling anxious.

Anxious mind loves distraction. The main reason for this, is to escape the suffering. Turn off your TV, phone, put your laptop away and spend five minutes in complete stillness and silence. At first, this can feel very uncomfortable. Um.. okay, this is weirdIt’s too quiet. I don’t like it. And then your mind might start to wander. Eventually, you might end up thinking about something you’ve been dreading, something that’s been bothering or annoying you for a while. Let that thought be. Don’t resist it. Recognize it as just that- a thought. It’s sort of like removing yourself from your mind and observing your thoughts- without judgment. Then, allow that thought to pass.

As you practice taking that 3rd person perspective, you will be able to recognize those anxious thoughts and emotions, without the need to react or suffer from them. You’ll learn to detach yourself from those situations or emotions- therefore they won’t have that control over you. You’ll be able to move on, and will no longer identify with that pain.

BE MORE PRESENT

Being present isn’t always easy to do and it might feel a bit unnatural at first. This is why you need to practice it. Using tools like “mindfulness bells” is a good way to start. Using these will remind you to come back to the present moment. I have a few: a sparkling light- like when the sun hits the key chain that hangs on my rearview mirror, or I hear a certain sound or see a certain number. If I walk around the office, or my house, and happen to hit my elbow on something, or when I accidentally drop my keys- I use that as a reminder too. Whenever I hear or see those “mindfulness bells” I stop and think “what am I doing right now, right this moment? Where are my thoughts wandering?” This is a really good way to start practicing being in a present moment.

I like practicing mindfulness when doing simple things like washing the dishes or folding laundry. I love how warm the laundry is after I take it out of the dryer, that fresh smell and soft feel as I fold it- when you start paying attention to these things, without thinking about your next task or chore, they become more enjoyable. You can find pleasure even in those very simple things.

See, most of the time, to us, present moment seems quite ordinary. We often seek to escape that moment, whether it be going through our phone while eating dinner or not paying attention when someone is trying to have a conversation with us. I think that this is exactly what makes this present moment extraordinary; we don’t get to just “be”, we’re always busy doing other things. When you train yourself to actually feel that sunshine on your skin when you’re going for a run, when you actually look into the eyes of someone close you’re talking to and realize how good it feels to be around them, you’ll see that there’s some magic hidden in those “ordinary” moments.

  • The Sunday Mode

    I used to be someone who was quite opposed to meditation and mindfulness but multiple things have led me on that path over the last few months and now I actually really enjoy meditating and trying to be more mindful and aware and appreciate of each moment and just the little things as well.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  • I really needed this. I’ve been so stressed about my future thinking I am going nowhere. I need to focus on my present.

    Beckie xo // The Pale Tails

  • Such a good post! I can always relate so much to what you write about Paula <3

    x Vanessa
    http://www.flipandstyle.com

  • I’m a multitasker and I find it hard to focus on one task. Great post, thanks for the reminder.

    http://thewallflowersecrets.com

  • I deeeeefinitely need to learn how to be more present.

  • Nicole

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!

    xx Nicole Mai – http://www.nicolemai.com

  • Unitasking is the only way I can actually get things done, I always have to have a priority list otherwise nothing gets done!

    Jodie // jodieloue.com

  • We find pleasure by taking time and reading your posts. ;) Hello, dziewczyna

    http://mihabalan.com/2017/02/02/my-3-months-of-blogging/

  • It’s so true – I think with technology especially, it’s hard to relax and concentrate fully on one thing, or to maintain our attention span on something. We’re all constantly switched “on”, clearing notifications, answering messages or opening multiple documents or web pages, it’s enough to make anyone ADD!
    Some useful breathing tips to help relax though :)

    – Lubna | The Digital Review

  • Love this post! I totally want to be more mindful

    Ellie xx
    http://www.petitelliee.com

  • Christine C.

    I was on autopilot for so long and have finally taken the time to make some serious changes in my life and being mindful is one of my top priorities! It’s helped me be a much calmer person and has helped with my anxiety issues so much!

  • Roxanne

    This is such an inspiring and helpful post. Thank you for sharing❤

  • I love the term “mindfulness bells.” It’s a perfect way to really find yourself in the moment, especially when I’m rushing around before I head out the door before work.

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

  • I suck at be in the moment, like it’s super hard for me to just stop and think about my thoughts, what I’m doing and why. I’ll totally use your tips! Hope they work for me haha

    xo,
    Paula

    http://www.blossomikebana.com

  • Krista Liguori

    Great advice, mindfulness is so important to establish a more grateful attitude and a growth mindset.

  • peonies passionfruit

    Thanks for sharing some great advice on mindfulness, it is much needed and appreciated.
    Eme x

    http://www.peoniesandpassionfruit.com

  • This is so amazing.
    http://www.yourbeautypantry.com

  • Ela

    I really like this because I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness a bit more. As a person with depression and anxiety, I tend to get lost in my thoughts no matter what I’m doing. Now, though, I tend to focus on the task at hand and really get down to business. Thank you for sharing these tips.
    Ela | http://www.stealingyoursunbeams.wordpress.com

  • I still struggle with my breath.. When I’m having anxiety, I’ll catch myself holding my breath and having shallow breathing which just makes the anxiety worse.
    Such a great post, thanks for sharing xo

    http://www.thesoulfulbunny.com

  • Yag Dalal

    This is the best article I read about the subjet, it’s accurate without being too “new age”. Have you read “the surrender experiment”?

    Dalal
    http://www.justdalal.com

  • I really need to practice mindfulness, I notice a lot that I think and worry far too much and then I worry about everything else and before I know it I’m stuck in my head getting anxious and upset and taking it out on the ones I love. I need to remind myself to breathe and take time out and to not judge my thoughts
    http://www.pagesfrombeth.blogspot.co.uk

  • I should read this post everyday. I was strugling with anxiety and depression for so long, for years, that I forgot to live. I love the idea of “mindfulness bells” ♥

    http://www.nowsheflares.com/

  • Natalie Redman

    A great post. I definitely need to stop multi-tasking.

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

  • Breathing has really helped me when I’m having panic attacks or have felt over-whelmed. Definitely some good ideas in this post!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tiffany-
    http:simplybeinggreat.net