Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in the present? Aren’t we all here, now, in the present?
Well yes but for many of us, we are only 10 percent here. We really live in our minds. We go from day to day in a dream like state where we are not connected to the world around us nor connected to our body. We are restless with memories of the past, churning thoughts and anxious about the future, or we are worried about the judgements for the things we do.
We are missing out on most of our lives, which leaves us feeling shallow and unsettled.
The great news is that you can learn to be more present and mindful. Here are 10 ways to practice mindfulness in your daily life.
1. Observe your breathing
As Echkart Tolle once said, a single breath in and out is meditation. Your breathing occurs naturally and in a pattern. When you focus on it, it takes you out of your mind and into your body.
2. Connect with your senses
Your senses - touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight - are your doorway into the present moment. When you are lost in your thoughts, you don’t experience what your senses are picking up. Pause to enjoy the little moments of your life like the smell of your coffee, the beautiful flowers around you. Notice how your clothes feel against your body, the soft clean bedsheets on your skin in the morning. The grass under your feet and the sensation of water running down your hands. Put love and attention into the simple tasks of your day and you will be amazed at how much joy and peace they bring you.
3. Get lost in the flow of things you love
We all have certain activities we love doing - They connect us with our inner spirit and bring us fully alive. It could be anything like dancing, cooking, writing, painting etc. We love doing these things so we can often lose ourselves in them. That is, we lose our smaller self – our churning thoughts and desires because we are pouring all of our love and attention into the present moment. Incorporate more flow activities in your weekly routine and your happiness will sky rocket.
4. Eat mindfully
When you scoff down your meal on autopilot while being distracted by the television or constant conversation. You miss out on the delicious taste and smell of your food. You are also less likely to feel satisfied or nourished because you missed out on the fact that you ate. Remember the phrase – When you eat, eat. When you drink, drink.
5. Walk mindfully
Thich Nhat Hanh says “walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet”. When you are out and about, pay attention closely to movement of the body and your surroundings. Notice as your feet connect with and leave the ground. Feel your muscles moving and supporting you. Observe what is going on around you - the sights, sounds and life unfolding. You may be amazed to find a whole new world you hadn’t noticed before.
6. Listen wholeheartedly
Most of us fail to really listen to people when they talk to us because we are thinking of what to say next, judging them by what they are saying. Try to make it your goal to fully listen to what the other person is saying to you without getting lost in your own thoughts. Trust that you will intuitively know the right thing to say when it’s your turn to speak.
7. Meditate daily
There is no getting around it – meditation has huge benefits and increases your levels of energy, happiness, inspiration and inner peace. Even 10 minutes a day can have a positive impact on your life. It will also strengthen your mindfulness muscles so you will find it easier to become aware throughout the day.
8. Pause between action
Pause and feel the weight of your body in your chair beginning the work for the day. Pause and feel the handle of the door before you open it at the end of the day. Putting mini causes between actions of the day can ground you in your inner being, clear your mind and provide you with fresh energy for the new task ahead .
9. Travel and mix up your routine
There is more than one reason you feel amazing on holidays. When you are in a new place, you automatically become more present and mindful - simply because there are so many new sights, smells, sounds to soak up. Your senses take over for a short while and it frees you from your mind. No travel plans? That’s ok, spice up your daily routine - it will have the same effect. Take a different route, stop at a new coffee shop, visit a new place around town or try something new like calligraphy or cooking a new recipe.
10. Observe your thoughts and emotions
You are not your thoughts - you are the observer of your thoughts. The fact that you can listen to them shows that they are not you. By simply becoming aware of your thoughts and observing them as they come and go like the clouds passing in the sky. You become more present. Resist the temptation to get carried away by a particular thought down a tunnel into the past or future. Picture your thoughts like trains at the station - you are on the platform watching them come and go but you aren’t going to jump on and go for a ride.
We encourage you to take moments to pause, take a deep breath and sense what it's like to be alive in this very moment. This moment is your life!