Mindfulness for Everyday Life
When we think of mindfulness meditation, often what first comes to mind is sitting cross-legged with our eyes closed in the traditional meditative pose. But actually, mindfulness is all about being mindful in everyday life. This week, we take a look at four moments in our day to day lives where we can connect with ourselves, the people around us, our daily tasks in a mindful way.
When you first wakeup and open the curtains
The moment you wake up and look out the window to see what the weather is like is your first opportunity to be mindful. Often, we allow external factors beyond our control to frustrate us and dictate our mood. The mindful approach is to embrace these external factors, to be accepting of them and acknowledge their positive, as well as their negative attributes. So if you wake up to stormy weather, start to notice the sounds of the storm and colours of the sky without judging it. You can also notice your thoughts and try to think of it as an opportunity to wear your new winter woollies, or eat a hot dish of your favourite cold weather food for dinner.
Sipping your morning coffee or tea
That first coffee or tea of the day is often consumed whilst doing a myriad of other menial tasks, but multitasking is actually counter productive, with studies showing that it doubles not only the time taken to complete a task, but also the number of errors made. Mindfulness encourages you to focus on each task for short bursts with breaks in between; this is known as unitasking. By dedicating your mental energies to one particular task like, you are not only more likely to complete it more efficiently and effectively, but you are also enabling yourself to really be in the moment without distraction, which is what being mindful is all about. On the flip side you can sit and enjoy your tea and coffee without doing anything else…it tastes much better when you drink it slow and mindfully!
In traffic on your way to work
For many people, the commute to work is the most stressful part of their day, which is why trying to be mindful in these moments is so important. When we find ourselves caught at yet another red light, waiting for delayed public transport, or stuck in a traffic jam, our first instinct is to become angry and frustrated. The mindful approach to these situations is to see them as an opportunity to reconnect and breathe. Moments like these are the perfect opportunity to take a few deep belly breaths and connect to your surrounds, you might be pleasantly surprised that there are things around you that you have never noticed.
Interacting with colleagues
Communicating with peers is one of the defining elements of the human experience, but we often devalue interactions in our daily lives and instead become selective about which communications we consider to be meaningful. From a mindfulness perspective however, every interaction we have throughout our day has the potential to be meaningful and rewarding if we choose to make it so. To get the most out of your interactions at work, practice staying present and attentive when speaking to a colleague, be mindful of the language you use and try to speak in a positive way, when listening to others be mindful of your listening skills by actively listening. When people feel heard that have a natural draw to value and like you.
Whilst it is important to be mindful in everyday life, meditation is the best way to improve your mindfulness practice. There are some great apps out there that allow you to access guided mindfulness meditation form anywhere. Two of my favourites are: Insight Timer and smiling mind. I am a certified mindfulness mediation teacher and love sharing and teaching people the amazing affects of bringing mindfulness into your daily life. If you would like to learn more about mindfulness or book in a private session email me at firstname.lastname@example.org