Mindfulness is a hot topic these days. Everybody talks about it and many people call themselves experts. But what actually is ‘being mindful’? Let me break it down for you.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing your attention to experiences happening in the present moment. So simply said; seeing things just the way they are, here and now. You can develop this state of mind through the practice of meditation and by simply training the brain. It is part of a significant element within Buddhist traditions and is based on Zen meditation, Vipassana and Tibetan meditation techniques. It is all about practicing; perceiving, noticing, being non-judgemental and acceptance. Mindfulness can actually help you reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
So what can YOU do, to be more mindful? Easy… here are 5 ways to be more mindful.
TIP 1: Meditate.
Even if it is just for a few minutes a day. I have been picking up meditation again for one and a half year, and as a result, I can say that it changed my life. I feel so much more grounded, calm and at ease. My anxiety is as good as gone and I am able to put things much more in perspective then I used to.
If you are new to meditation, just download the app Headspace on your phone. It is a guided meditation and mindfulness app that is very easy to use with very down to earth techniques. You can learn how to meditate from scratch. Just start with a breathing exercise when you wake up or right before you go to sleep, which will only cost you 3 minutes of your precious time. The more you try, the better you’ll get, the longer you can meditate. Ten minutes a day is already enough to make you feel more present and aware.
TIP 2: Be present.
Being present might sound crazy vague. But it’s not. We all know that little voice in our heads right? The one that tells us to worry about things that happened in the past or might happen in the (near) future. That little voice is your ego. Your ego is basically feeding you with insecurities and fears all day long. GREAT. In order to be present and being able to leave your ego at the door is by trying and focussing on things that are right in front of you. By using your senses, looking around, listen to the sounds surrounding you, you will be able to be more present and worry less about things that bother you.
TIP 3: Breathe mindfully.
Breathing obviously is one of the most natural things we do without noticing. But what happens if you do try to notice the way you breathe? When you are stressed, your breathing is high and shallow. When you are relaxed, your breathing is low and deeper. Try to do a breathing exercise when you are getting yourself a cup of coffee or while having a toilet break. Focus on how your belly rises and falls for a few minutes. It will bring to right back to being present.
TIP 4: Routine activities.
Every morning when I wake up, I have a little morning routine. I start my day with meditating for 10 minutes. After that, I make my bed, do the dishes and tidy up my room. Last but not least, I take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast and go to work. This seems quite normal, right? Not for me. By doing these small chores mindfully and not on automatic pilot, it helps me be more focussed, aware and present during the day.
TIP 5: Spend time in nature.
I believe I’m one of the biggest Netflix binge-watchers on the planet. I absolutely LOVE zoning out while watching a movie or series. Although this might sound very relaxing, it is not very mindful. Therefore I really enjoy walking around the city with my camera or just simply be in nature. Being outside in the fresh air makes it possible for your brain to reset and therefore being more in the now.