Mindfulness Blog 3: Practicing Mindful Living (Part 2)
Following on from Part 1 and exploring the practice of seated Mindful Meditation, here we dig into how to take Mindfulness Meditation with us anywhere and anytime! Read on to find seven ways to bring Mindful Meditation into the everyday:
Mindful movement is a great place to start and by looking at the very beginning of the day, we can consider how we nurture ourselves with kind thoughts and gentle moments. By setting up a routine in the first hour we can start the day from a mindful place, perhaps starting with a glass of cool water, or warm lemon water and committing time for seated or walking meditation.
As we move through the day we can begin to really observe how we walk, exercise and move our bodies. Are we moving mindfully or rushing from point A to B? What we learnt in Part 1 about observation can be taken into a walking meditation for example, noticing our surroundings, the clouds, nature, wildlife, sounds, how we physically feel and where the breath is as it moves through out bodies.
These practices can also be incorporated while we drive and travel on public transport, beginning to notice the route we are taking to work or the route we take to pick up the kids, turning off the distractions i.e. radio and really noticing how we can begin to look at everyday tasks with awareness.
In today's technologically hungry society we utilize nearly any and every spare moment we have to scan Facebook, Instagram, the web, catching up on emails, text etc. Please don’t get us wrong, we love technology and how it connects us to our community, friends and family all thanks to our social networks. But if we honestly assessed our level of use (read addiction) to technology we would find there are plenty of moments where we could swap out (turn off) this technology to enjoy the present moment.
Consider how to gain control of technology use through mindfulness. Perhaps when we do use this technology we can utilise it to enhance mindful awareness, for example using apps like Headspace to enjoy 10 minute guided mini-meditations by Andy Puddicombe who featured in the Part 1 video.
We all have to work be it working for yourself, someone else, working in the role of parent or otherwise. Sometimes we love what we are doing, we are fully in the moment and are lost in creativity, problem solving and being a contributor to the bigger picture, yet sometimes we are just not all there, our minds going to worry, stress, and dislike for the task at hand.
Work is the perfect place to drop into mini-meditations i.e. walking to the bathroom, a meeting, making a coffee, as the kids sleep or while on a break or waiting for an appointment in the middle of the day we can drop into the practice of mindful meditation, observing our breathing, sensations in our bodies, hearing and our thought processes. We can also use mindful strategies to consider going from reacting to responding, looking at creative problem solving and mindfully considering our work/life balance.
We do our best work in relationship, exploring the one we have with ourselves and the one with those around us. Mindfulness can be utilized by becoming an observer of how we show up to:
- Create peace or lack there of,
- Listen or recognize when we are not,
- Consider our expectations, of ourselves and of others,
- Explore the mirror of our relationships, emotions and reactions to others and how we can begin to see difficult people as our teachers.
We eat multiple times a day and how often do we steamroll through the process by ‘eating on the run’ or while watching TV, checking emails, reading the paper?
Mindful eating is to slowi down and ‘savor’ each bite. We begin to notice textures, aroma, and all the flavors, we begin to ‘observe’ how the body feels, it’s energy levels, stress, the feeling of being full or of being hungry? Also are we fully ‘in-the-moment’? Is the TV off, your phone, notepad, paper and book off the table, in fact are you even sitting at the table? Are you judging the process? Consciously practicing ‘non-judgment’ is as much a part of Mindful eating as it is all the other ingredients of Mindfulness, so what does your internal dialogue look like? Are you being kind? Perhaps notice any ‘shoulds’ that pop up, this word is always followed by guilt or focus on unbending and unforgiveable rules. Lastly, be ‘aware’! Are you automatically chewing and swallowing or are you tasting and enjoying your food!?
This awareness can be extended to cooking too! Are you enjoying the smell, colors, and considering the life that came before being placed on your plate, the sunlight water and time it took to grow. Simply we slow down to observe and enjoy the process of eating.
6. Establishing a Routine
Typically human beings thrive on routine. Consider how you can setup routines to cultivate kindness, space and helpful triggers to bring yourself back to the present moment. Look at your day as a whole, right from waking, moving through the day, to preparing for sleep mindfully at the end. Where can you infuse mindful activities throughout your day to cultivate, acceptance, kindness and present moment awareness into this journey.
Remember to be soft and forgiving to yourself as you move through, you will slip up ‘run out of time’ and experience boredom, sleepiness, physical discomfort, difficult emotions and more but accept this all a part of the journey, be aware and let is go. Reflect on your commitments, share your journey with others, set realistic expectations and remember learning new skills and changing old habits is a journey, and one you will hugely benefit from with designing a routine.
7. Mindfulness and Kids
Mindfulness and children are a natural fit, they are eager to learn and love to follow your example. Science is also now telling us that mindfulness tools will serve kids well into their futures with improved ability to pay attention, calm down, make better decisions, and regulate their emotions and cognitive processes. There are plenty of tips and resources online for exploration in this area, so much more than we have space for in this post so get curious and take your children along for the journey! Just remember to keep things simple, fun and you can aways start with Mindful Parenting :)