Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.
It is well-known that, when practiced regularly, mindfulness can help you cultivate a sense of well-being and can bring calm, awareness, and creativity into everyday life. It also helps you to slow down, reduce stress, and improve your relationships.
Mindfulness is an everyday experience of being engaged and present with whatever we’re doing. Curiosity is one of the essential features of mindfulness. When we are curious and genuinely interested in our experience and when we bring our attention more fully in the present moment, we deepen our engagement with it. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we become less curious, we stop noticing the details, and we start taking things for granted.
It is not that difficult to train yourself to be in the present and experience life as it’s happening. Pay attention to what happens inside you – your feelings, thoughts, and habits, and around you – to what people are doing and saying, to the places you walk by or drive by, and to the noises around you.
Today I’ll share some ways to bring more mindfulness into your daily routine:
Pay attention to your breathing when you read, watch TV or when you walk or drive. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and watch your breathing can be really calming. Breathe in and feel the colder air entering your nose and your lungs expanding. Breathe out and feel the warmer air coming out. Notice your breathing in and breathing out. Your body will feel relaxed and safe. Be grateful for these sensations.
Embrace solitude. Learn to be happy alone. Enjoying solitude in today’s crazy life can be incredibly nourishing and regenerating. It helps you connect with yourself at a deeper level and develop a greater sense of awareness. When you are alone, you allow yourself to dream, to ask questions, to balance the positive and the negative aspects of your life, to get a deeper insight into what really makes you happy, and to understand that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves. Be grateful for solitude.
Tune into your senses and feel your emotions. Scan your body and discover any tightness or tension. (This is how I discovered that I tend to frown for no reason.) Focus on your body and acknowledge its awe-inspiring mechanisms. Marvel at its ability to heal itself. Next time you catch yourself worrying or judging yourself or others, redirect your attention to here and now.
Mindfulness retrains the brain to cultivate positive mindsets and it can teach you to choose, to engage with what is relevant and avoid what is not. It doesn’t seek to suppress unpleasant emotions like tension, bitterness, anger, or anxiety. It just changes the way you react to these emotions. And the best way to react to these negative emotions is to acknowledge them, feel okay about them, and then gently shift your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness enriches the present moment by allowing you to fully enjoy its beauty and its meaning. Be grateful for that.
Savor your meals. Stop having a conversation, watching TV, or checking your phone while eating. Eliminate any distractions and savor the taste, the colors, and the flavors of your food. It will undoubtedly change your perspective and eventually your whole relationship with food. Similarly, savor the taste, warmth, and flavor of your coffee. Let every sip wake up your senses and be grateful for the richness of your tastes.
Take mindful walks. At least once a week leave your phone at home and focus your attention on your pace and your surroundings. Acknowledge the scent in the air, the movement of the clouds, your body temperature as it raises, your breath, and the distant noises. Bring your attention to the movement of your body and focus on how this movement feels. (You can even sync your breathing with your steps: 1-2 steps – breathe in, 3-4 steps – breathe out.) Be grateful for this walk: it helps you clear your mind, keeps you in great physical shape, and it lifts your spirit.
Treat yourself with a bath and enjoy it. Make it something else than a 10 minute shower. Make it count. Make it memorable. It is one of the best ways to let everything behind and focus on the present. Use some lavender essential oil and let the warmth of the water work. Feel your muscles starting to relax, enjoy the delightful scent, and appreciate the quietness around. Be grateful for all.
Start a gratitude journal. When you settle down before bed, try to spend a few minutes reflecting on the day that just ended, and write down three things you are grateful for and anything that made you happy or made you laugh – anything. Be grateful for your journal – it trains your brain to scan the world for the positive.
Try to connect more with your everyday life. Be aware of the way you do the ordinary stuff – the way you dress, the way you walk, the way you listen to others when you have a conversation, the way you wash the dishes and the way you shower. Focus on the present moment and make it more delightful and more meaningful.
How do you keep yourself engaged and present throughout the day?
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For more tools and resources on happiness and productivity check out my Resources page.