Mindfulness has a close connection to meditation. However, you do not have to practice meditation to be mindful. You can become conscious of living in the moment and just enjoying the things you do every day more fully. Doing this provides you with a sense of peace. It also brings more joy into your life.
People who are good at being mindful are usually happier no matter what situation they are in because they can enjoy themselves. When you are always looking for outside satisfaction, you are not able to tap into all of the beautiful experiences are having.
What is Mindfulness?
Most people live their lives on autopilot. They lack a connection to the activities they do. You may have even experienced this in your own life. Perhaps you find yourself wondering how you even got to your destination when you arrive because your mind is full of thoughts.
Mindfulness is the opposite of autopilot. It is a state in which you are aware of yourself, your surroundings, and the way something makes you feel. You can be mindful at any moment. You do not need to do anything special.
However, there are ways that you can practice mindfulness because if you have never experienced it before, it can be difficult at first. Being mindful helps you to slow down, get out of your head, and experience things more deeply. It requires you to engage in what you are doing entirely.
Luckily, there are many ways to get better at this state of being. You can do special exercises or activities that will help you become mindful. After mastering mindfulness in one area of your life, you will find that you are better able to be aware no matter what you are doing.
One thing to note about mindfulness is that if you do not consciously practice it, you can find yourself back in a chaotic state of living. It is easy to get back to, but it is something you have to do with consistency.
Benefits of Mindfulness
You already know that mindfulness can help you slow down, become less stressed, and enjoy life more fully. However, there are lots of other benefits. For example, mindful eating can help you lose weight or overcome eating disorders.
Being mindful at work can help you get things done more efficiently and make fewer mistakes. It can also help you give better customer service and develop closer business relationships. At home, it can help you connect with your children or spouse in more meaningful ways. Doing this helps reduce tension in your home.
There is scientific evidence to support the benefits of mindfulness. Some people may think it is a trivial practice, but that is simply not the case. Doing things with more awareness is almost always beneficial.
Ways to Be Mindful with Yourself
When you are alone, you have the perfect opportunity to become more aware of your surroundings and yourself. So, during your alone time, try practicing mindfulness. If you are someone who hates being by yourself, you might find that these experiences are just what you need to become more comfortable being alone.
Enjoy the Ride
Many people drive from point A to point B without even realizing what streets they turn down or even when they stop at a red light and go when it turns green. The next time you drive somewhere, use your time in the car as a way to tap into all the feelings and sights on the road.
Pay attention to the vibration of the car, the way the AC feels when it hits your skin, the sun beaming through the window, and all of the other sensations you have as you ride along. If you can do this quietly while riding with someone else, that is another excellent way to be more mindful during your trip.
You do not have to go on a nature hike to experience all of the beautiful things there are outdoors. All you have to do is pay attention. Hear the sounds when you walk outside. Are there birds chirping, dogs barking, or children laughing?
How does the breeze feel when it brushes your skin? Are you hot when you walk outside, or do you get a chill? A breeze on a hot day is a fantastic feeling, yet too few people are present enough in the moment to appreciate that.
However, if you take a few minutes to enjoy the little things, you are in for a real treat just by being in the moment. So, the next time you see something beautiful, instead of passing it by, stop for a minute to appreciate it.
Many schools use Earth Day to teach kids how to be more mindful and to connect with nature. When we appreciate all of the beautiful things there outdoors, we are more likely to take care of our environment. So, practicing this state of being in the great outdoors has many benefits.
Touching different things is a great way to be more aware in the moment. Petting an animal, feeling a soft blanket, or even running your hand across the bristles on a brush all give you a sensation that you can tap into to be more mindful.
Mindful eating is something you can experience in many different ways. Different ways of mindful eating have various benefits, but each helps you to be less stressed and to be more aware of the choices you make while eating.
This method of eating involves you paying attention to the emotional response you have to food, the way it tastes, the way it makes you feel, and when you become full.
Practicing mindfulness in this way can help you:
- Lose weight
- Become healthier
- Overcome eating disorders
- Reduce stress
- Connect with others
You can start by simply eating a piece of chocolate and paying attention to the way you feel when you eat it. Think about if it is sweet or bitter. Consider how your mood changes after you eat it. It is a simple exercise, but it can impact you profoundly.
Engage with Art
Engaging with art is a great way to expand your horizons and become mindful. You can do this by painting, drawing, or even coloring. You can also get into doing crafts. There are a lot of fun craft projects that you can do to help you experience being in the moment.
If doing art does not appeal to you, try going to a museum. Just looking at artwork is another way to clear your mind and become more present. There are museums in every major city, so there is likely one near you. Going to an art museum allows you to enjoy the artwork in a quiet setting that is created to help eliminate outside distractions.
However, you can also look at art online if you cannot get to a museum. Try to imagine what the artist was thinking when they were creating the piece and pay attention to the way it makes you feel.
There are many benefits to playing sports. One of them is the ability to connect more deeply with your body and surroundings. Just playing is not enough, though. You need to pay attention to the way you feel while you are engaged in the activity. Clear your mind and focus and enjoy playing.
Some of the best athletes gain their competitive edge through focused awareness of themselves and their opponents. They focus on the game. That gives them the ability to anticipate the reactions of their team and the other side.
Some of the best sports for practicing mindfulness are:
These sports are slower paced, and they can be done by yourself, which makes them perfect for connecting with yourself.
Go for a Walk
Take a walk and pay attention to all of the things you see along the way. If you find it difficult to stop thinking and enjoy the experience, make a point to find items along the way. For example, make it a point to find five different kinds of flowers and three different birds. Doing this will help you pay attention to your surroundings.
Scan Your Body for Tension
Scanning your body is a great way to be mindful and help yourself relax. Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable. Then starting at your head and working your way down your body, scan each part and pay attention to where you are tense. Release any tension as you go. Areas that are common for holding tension are:
As you practice this form of mindfulness more frequently, you will find that you are likely to tense in areas you were not aware of to start. You might even find that you hold on to tension all over. So, releasing as you go will help to give you a comparison between the areas that are not tight and the areas that are.
Take a Shower
Most people shower or bathe daily. However, most people use this time to think about their day, the things they need to do when they get done showering, things that are stressing them, or a combination of a lot of things.
Instead of letting thoughts consume yourself, the next time you shower, feel the water as it hits your skin and runs down your body. Take in the smell of the soap. Feel your hands as you wash your hair and the water as you rinse the shampoo out.
Get a Massage
Getting a massage is a great way to relax. However, it is also a way to become more tuned into the sensation of touch and the environment around you. The act of getting a massage is not enough to make you mindful, though.
Many people are thinking about their obligations during this time, which is meant to help them become less stressed. To avoid this pitfall, pay attention to the way the room smells, how the massage therapist’s hands feel as they touch you, and the reaction of your muscles to the pressure.
Most people can appreciate an exceptional photograph. However, few people realize that to take a great picture, the photographer had to be aware of the image they were capturing.
That is why photography is a great way to become more aware and engaged in your surroundings. It is also one of the easier ways to become more mindful.
If you find it challenging to be at peace when you are doing other activities because you are unable to quiet your mind, give photography a try. Just start paying attention to the things you see in your everyday life and take a moment to capture them.
When you start doing this, you will find that you are more aware of a beautiful flower, the way the light reflects off of things, the sun rising and setting, exceptional architecture, and many other things you were not previously aware were around you.
Another great part about photography is that the photos you take allow you to go back to these moments and practice mindfulness in that way as well. Keep these pictures for yourself or share them with others.
Watching other people is a great way to live in the moment. Just think about how many people you pass daily without giving them a second thought. Observing those people helps you to be present. You can do this throughout your day, or you can dedicate a specific time to people watch.
Grab a table outdoors in a busy location or the food court at the mall and watch the people passing. Imagine what they are thinking, where they are going, what their name might be, and what is going on in their life. Pay attention to their body language, the way they are dressed, and how they interact with other people.
The bookstore is also an excellent location to practice people watching. There are often people sitting around. They are reading or working, but there should be plenty of people around you.
Take a Trip to the Beach
The beach is a peaceful location where you can easily practice mindfulness. There are plenty of sensations around the way the sun feels on your skin to the sand under your feet. You can also watch the waves as they crash against the shore and the other people around you as well.
Music has the power to evoke emotions, whether you are making music or listening to it. That is why enjoying music is a great way to be present in the moment.
While listening to music, really pay attention to the lyrics of the song. Then pay attention to the way you feel while you are listening to a favorite song. Some songs might make you recall an event in the past, miss a loved one, feel joy, or motivate you to overcome a difficult situation.
Making music helps you to connect your actions with the sound that you create. Some of the most successful people are proficient at playing instruments. Maybe that is because they have a skill that allows them to tap into mindfulness every time they play.
Playing an instrument requires you to pay attention to nothing but making music. That is the whole goal of mindfulness, so when you master a musical instrument, you are also learning the art of being mindful.
Mindfulness with Others
Being more mindful of others is the perfect way to connect. It is what children crave. They want you to be present when you engage with them, and it is likely what the other people in your life desire as well. Everyone wants to feel that you are fully present when you are spending time with them.
When distractions are consuming you, your family and friends often become frustrated with you. The result can be passive-aggressive behaviors. Often other people are not fully aware of why they feel the way they do.
So, if you are having trouble in your relationships, try connecting through mindfulness.
Do a Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great way to help kids connect with nature. It is a free activity that the whole family can enjoy. Just create a list of items to find and then enjoy the process. When you finish. You can also require each person to find something really interesting that is not on the list to help them focus even more on their surroundings.
When you do a scavenger hunt for mindfulness, do not emphasize finishing the list first. Instead, see who can find the most of each item or the person that shares the most thoughtful experience they had when searching for the items.
All children love to play with their parents. However, it is all too easy to set a child down with a bunch of toys and expect them to play by themselves. Instead, try scheduling time to play with your children.
During this time, turn the TV off, put your phone away, and eliminate any other distractions. Then, sit on the floor with them and play. You can have a tea party, play with blocks, or even build something out of cardboard boxes.
No matter what it is that you are playing with, focus solely on that. Pay attention to your child’s reaction as they play with the toys. Look at their face and see the delight as they are enjoying the moment.
Playing in the sand, with water, or in the snow are also great options. You can even rack the leaves in your yard and take turns jumping in the piles when you finish. All of these activities will help you experience mindfulness and cultivate mindfulness in your family members as well.
It is impossible to be mindful when you are distracted. So, eliminate anything that could take your attention away from the activity you are engaging in and have the other people participating do the same. If you are eating a family meal, have everyone put their phones in a basket until dinner is over and turn the TV off.
Another great way to make sure the people in your group are not distracted is to set a time. So, if you are eating a meal, do not make it that everyone has to stay at the table until they finish. Instead, tell them that they are going to disconnect for an hour and a half. That way, they are not anticipating the moment the last person will finish or rushing through their meal to get back on their phones.
There are a lot of games that support this type of awareness. Furthermore, playing games is the perfect way to take the pressure off because you can become aware without trying.
Some of the games and activities you can do with your family are:
- Blowing bubbles
- Playing catch
- Do a puzzle
- Build a house of cards
- Play Jenga
Do a Blind Taste Test
Doing a blind taste test with a group of people is a great way to get everyone involved in being more aware. If you want to participate too, you can use a box of assorted chocolates. Each person will take a bite and then guess what flavor they experienced.
When you do a taste test in this way, you have to pay attention to what you are eating. Doing this makes it easy to focus on eating, and it is a fun activity you can enjoy with others.
Try Something New
It is often easier to be mindful when you are experiencing something you have never experienced before. So, try something new. Go somewhere you have never been or eat foods you have never tried. Doing this will allow you to really take it in. If you are eating new food, pay attention to the flavors. If you go somewhere you have never been before, pay attention to the smells, sounds, and sights.
Create Something Together
Creating artwork or even cooking with others is a great way to engage in an activity together. If you want to practice mindfulness with your children making animals or food out of playdough or modeling clay is another good option.
Being Mindful at Work
Practicing mindfulness at work might be just what you need to bring your career to the next level. Or, what you need to realize that you want to make a career change. Either way, you should give it a try.
Multitasking is a valuable skill. However, it often leaves people stressed, and many people make mistakes when they multitask. It is easier to forget things you need to do as well. So, take some time each day to focus on the essential parts of your job without any distractions.
Doing this is also good practice when you are speaking to clients and colleagues. Not only will you reduce your stress by only focusing on one thing at a time, but you will also be more relatable to others and more mindful of your interactions.
Take a Lunch Break
Many people fall into the trap of working through their lunch break. However, taking a break is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness during the day. Taking a few minutes to yourself will help you be more productive when you get back to your desk. While you are at lunch practice these forms of mindfulness:
- Mindful eating
- People watching
- Connect with nature
- Be aware while driving
- Listen to music
Take Five Between Strenuous Tasks
after you complete a difficult task, take a few minutes to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, you feel when you complete it. By doing this, you will be more motivated when you tackle the next task on your list.
Keep a Zen Garden on Your Desk
A zen garden is a great way to relieve stress at work. The reason zen gardens are so calming is that you are mindful when you are raking the sand or placing the rocks in different formations. Just a few minutes creating a different configuration can be beneficial and help you get through your day.
No matter what you are doing, you can always be mindful and enjoy the experience more fully. You can start becoming more aware by practicing with something simple and move on to enjoying entire adventures with complete awareness.
With so many ways to experience a mindful state of being, there is no reason not to give it a try.
You will likely find after feeling the peace that comes from this way of doing things that you desire the experience more and more frequently.
After you master this on your own, you will be better able to share mindfulness with others, and the benefits you enjoy will continue to grow and spill into other parts of your life.