I’ve wanted to write up a blog about this “concept” for sometime. It was after all the word of 2016; dominating blogs and self help books worldwide. Everybody wanted to know what it meant and how they could improve their lives with a little dose of Mindfulness.
Personally, I’ve always teetered between being a mindfulness advocate & a total fraud. For someone like me, whose career revolves around removing oneself from the present and being immersed for hours in the fantasy realm of “online” I benefit massively from enforcing a little mindfulness into my daily regime. But do I do it enough? Nope.What is Mindfulness
I think the current obsession with Mindful living has surfaced as a backlash to all the distractions and vicarious living we experience from immersing ourselves in our social media feeds.
Being mindful is all about being in the present and giving your full attention to your current task or surroundings. Not sure about you, but my attention is somewhat splintered these days from all the distractions modern day life offers us (Internet, ahem).
Since when did it become acceptable or normal to be social media-ing whilst at dinner with someone or hanging out with others? I’m sad to say as a blogger at other blogger events it’s the norm to be “conversing” IRL whilst filtering and tagging a photo for an Instagram upload or tweet. Kinda makes me sick but I do it too.
Sure, we’ve become a generation of skilled multi-taskers, but it makes me think we may be doing things by half measures and leaving every social interaction somewhat lacking. How fulfilling was the coffee date you had with your friend who checked their social feeds every few mins? Bet you felt a little deflated.
How to be more Mindful
It’s all fine and well understanding the concept but putting it in action whilst living in the present is harder than you’d expect. We can’t cut ourselves off from wifi and crawl under a rock to start fires, that would be avoiding the world’s natural progression. A Luddite I am not.
In order to try and become more mindful without deactivating my social media I follow these tips below to try and incorporate a little more mindfulness to my life. Set alarms and programming yourself into a few key apps I’ve mentioned to help in the beginning. Stupid I know, but how else am I going to remember at the start.
I’m hoping that a pattern will emerge and I’ll be able to prompt my brain without a mobile alarm but until then I am, ironically relying on a few apps.
Use Head Space to meditate
Meditation is one of the hardest things to do in the world. To perfect the art of completely emptying your head is near impossible; we are programmed to think thoughts involuntarily whilst conscious. An app called Headspace is great for coaching the mind into working more effectively by being more conscious, present and mindful throughout your day to day activities. What’s great about this guided meditative practice is that it can be done in bite sized sessions (10 minutes) so it’s not difficult or time consuming to complete.
They also have a shit load of different programmes you can meditate to like fear of flying and better sleep. I have subscribed to headspace for a year and manage to do a 10 minute meditation four or five times weekly.
Not have your phone in your line of sight
Remove your phone from your line of sight. This is a fab trick. I sometimes leave my phone in my room when I cook; an hour will pass and I haven’t looked at it or missed it once. This allows me to unwind and fully immerse myself in cooking for an hour or so. Same goes for having it on the table at dinner and in the bedroom.
Take a breath
Take a minute to think about your breathing. Practicing regular deep breaths by breathing in through the nose down into the pit of the stomach, holding for a few seconds and then exhaling slowly out through the mouth can help to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. As we dash through the day working on auto pilot we can end up carrying negativity and stresses with us without really shaking them off. After learning all about the Hayou method this year (click here for the blog) I now practice cleansing breaths to help shirk off any negativity I may be harbouring – typically from a bad email I’ve received or an unpleasant incident that I can’t shake off. Think of it as a sort of pit stop where you can park you brain for a refresh throughout the day.
Finally remind yourself to be mindful as soon as you wake up and the last thing at night.