Do you ever feel overwhelmed at work? Relationships are in tatters? Or maybe you just can’t relax? I’m not surprised, the world is increasingly demanding. Being at your best is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity for success.
Don’t worry though; these four simple daily mindfulness practices will help out.
You’ve probably thought about trying mindfulness, but didn’t know where to start. Being mindful isn’t as hard as you might imagine. You don’t have to clear your mind completely, it really all boils down to attention, with some extra tricks.
Mindfulness is about paying attention to your senses and feeling connected to your body. This type of mindfulness is called Shamatha. Classically it would concentrate on breathing, however if focusing on breathing isn’t your thing, pick something you prefer. So long as it’s a sensory experience happening in the present moment, like the flicker of a candle, the smell of dinner or the warmth of the sun.
I find walking between appointments or to or from work is a great opportunity to put down the smart phone and pay attention to what’s going on around me. Along the way you might observe things like temperature, the texture of the footpath, the sound of the wind or people talking.
If you’ve got time at lunch, really slow down to enjoy your food. People who eat mindfully, savouring the whole experience, tend to eat less and enjoy their food more!
Many people find this little trick useful, especially to help cope with difficult experiences, like a meeting with the boss where emotions tend to flare. The mindful STOP is easy to remember: S – Slow down and stand up straight.
T – Take 3 deep breaths.
O – Open your awareness to your senses and observe.
P – Pinpoint the priority and proceed with it.
Building this into your repertoire is a great way to gain perspective and reduce stress. By doing this, we can disrupt most of the worries and thoughts we get stuck on.
Don’t get caught up trying to control what’s out of your control. Very often we struggle to make changes to the present moment because we are focused on the future. No matter what your goals are, you can only act on them now by problem solving and working today – not in the future.
There’s an old English proverb that states: “Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
This is a mindfulness trick if ever there was one. Instead of beating yourself up for not reaching a milestone, focus on the things in that process that you did really well. This practice builds self-worth and resilience. The next time you face a similar situation you’ll be ready and are more likely to succeed. For example, you mightn’t have had your project approved, but you put your best effort into it and that’s testament to a characteristic in you that will lead to success.
We all know it’s increasingly easy to get side tracked and derailed by the pace and demands of the modern world. To get the balance back onto your side, pick the single most important thing you can attend to right now and work on it. Pay attention to it with all your senses, get a feel for the issue and yourself, and use this awareness in building perspective into your problem solving. When things get to be overwhelming do a mindful stop. Finally, make sure in whatever happens, you judge yourself by the things you did well.
These daily mindfulness practices will help you improve your mental health, reduce the amount of noise to shift through and focus you on the things that will help you reach your goals faster.