The Art of Mindfulness-Gabi Weaver, RYT, C.H.N. Y oR.
Do you feel like you are on autopilot much of the time?
Are you unable to relax? Do you find yourself thinking about what happened yesterday, last week, last month, or last year, or maybe even years ago? Or maybe you are thinking about the future?
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is about learning how to live fully within the present moment, to help teach us to awaken to the joys of daily life, with peace and with clarity.
Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you to:
Build awareness and centered attention
Discover how to savor routines
Build fulfillment in your work
Enhance and heal relationships
Change unhealthy habits
Connect to peace in the midst of uncertainty
Here are 3 ways in which you can begin the practice of mindfulness in your life today:
Rid yourself of any unnessessary distractions. Make a conscious choice to rid yourself of any distractions that you are able to each day. Examples of this might be to put your cell phone away, or to turn it off in your downtime. It may mean choosing not to look up your favorite internet sites or social media that day. Maybe it means turning off radio on the drive home, or not watching TV. Essentially, this is about choosing to rid yourself of any distractions that may take away from the practice of Mindfulness.
Visualize and begin new activities. Use this new time to begin visualizing several new activities that might be more nurturing to you, and think about how you could start these changes. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Some examples could be: reading a good book you didn’t have time for before, taking in a yoga class, calling a good friend to chat or even better, meeting in person. You could use this time to simply relax and breathe deeply and fully, pet or snuggle a family pet for several minutes, or maybe take a walk outside and really tune in to all of the smells, sights and sounds of everything around you.
Practicing Gratitude. Here is a gratitude practice that can have an immediate and positive impact in practicing Mindfulness. Every day, look back over what happened and write down at least one thing that you are grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful way of learning how to overcome short-term pleasure seeking. It allows us to tap into deeper and more sustainable ways of experiencing fulfillment. When we learn to be grateful for what we already have, we don’t have a reason to be disappointed. This could be an appreciation for a kind act someone did for you, or any of the small things in life that we often take for granted. That comfortable chair, the flavor of a particular food, the book you are reading, the music you love listening to, the hot water in your shower. Try this practice for a period of four weeks, to see and measure its results.
If you like, you can even track how gratitude affects your mood, your sleep, how you eat, exercise, and interact with others. One idea that I have enjoyed was to write down my daily gratitude on post-it notes in my favorite colors and to post my daily Gratitude on a special place in my home.
Every day you and the members in your family can write down one thing that they are grateful for, it doesn’t have to be complicated or especially profound either- small things are okay too, don’t overthink it, and have some fun with it! Example: The beautiful bright sun made my walk with my dog Lucy amazing today, and I felt so happy☺
Every day, we spend a lot of our time working or taking care of our loved ones. Sometimes we perform our tasks with detachment, and these tasks can weigh us down. Ultimately the purpose that we feel must be generated from within us. As an example, when I get up each day, I make my kids breakfast. This act shows love and caring. I am giving them important nutrition to help their bodies and minds stay healthy and happy, I am teaching them that a healthy breakfast is important, so when they grow up and have others to care for, they may choose to do the same. Take a few minutes and write down the answers to these following questions:
What can I learn from my daily work? Even if it is a job you dislike, you can learn to find meaning in your tasks. It is an opportunity for learning and service and possibly even adventure! Is it the job that unlocks a door to meaning, or do you hold the key to freedom, doing the work you already do? You can learn to love everything that you do. Choose to do your daily work cheerfully, with great care and love, and the very best way you know how.
Think about all of the ways that your job serves others- for example, if you are a maintenance worker, you make floors, bathrooms, offices and entrances and exits safe and healthy for people to be in, you help to ensure their safety and wellbeing as they enter the buildings that you care for. If you are a waitress, you are giving the people you serve a well-needed break, you are serving them in a kind and gracious way, and you are serving them food that will nourish them in both body and mind.