You’ve likely heard the phrase “live in the moment” so many times it feels like nothing more than a redundant cliché. Aren’t we already living in the moment, like right now?
Well..while we’re reminiscing on the past or stressing about obligations in the future, we’re not truly connecting with our body, our mind, or our surroundings. At the end of the day, we’re left with a feeling of unproductivity and a sense that we are missing out on our own lives.
Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, sensations, and surrounding environment. This simple practice of acknowledging our thoughts and feelings without self-judgment has been proven to promote productivity, increase focus, and improve work quality.
Not only does practicing mindfulness improve your overall work performance, but it offers some amazing physical and mental health benefits as well. A study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that mindfulness techniques are especially effective in treating a myriad of stress-related health issues. By incorporating mindful practices throughout the day, patients are able to reduce overall levels of stress and anxiety which, in turn, may aid in treating heart disease, gastrointestinal difficulties, high blood pressure, insomnia, and chronic pain. Improved mental and physical health, paired with an in-the-moment connection between body and mind, allow you to bring your best, most present self to the forefront—whether it be in the conference room or at the dinner table.
So, here are 5 easy ways we incorporate mindfulness into our lives:
Focus on the details of your environment.
Look around you. Put all of your attention towards what you can see, hear, feel, smell, or even taste. This practice of connecting with your current surroundings through your senses forces you to put your mental energy towards what is happening right now, in the present.
*Setting a daily reminder on your phone is a great way to get into the habit of periodically checking in with yourself and your surroundings*
Pay attention to your breathing.
By simply taking a few deep breaths or practicing a few breathing exercises, you actively connect your brain with your body. Focusing on a repeated pattern of inhalation and exhalation distracts your mind from negative or unproductive thoughts, allowing you to connect with your body in moment.
*Check out our post on this rejuvenating breathing technique here)*
Take a walk.
When we’re trying to keep up with a hectic schedule, we rarely give ourselves the break we desperately need. Taking 10 or 15 minutes to step away from the computer screen allows you to pay attention to your thoughts and surroundings. Paying attention to each step you take connects your body with the earth and your mind with the present.
*Try scheduling a 15 minute break into your calendar to get outside and take a quick walk. Think of it as an important meeting with yourself*
Savor what you eat.
When we’re hungry, we often scarf down whatever’s in front of us without much thought. However, when you focus on your senses while eating—on the flavors, aromas, and textures of what you’re consuming—you’re more likely to feel nourished and fulfilled by your meal. It also gives you the chance to take note of what exactly you’re putting in your body and how it makes you feel.
*Taking smaller bites, focusing on our posture and chewing, and avoiding screen time or working during our meals allows you to really pay attention to what you’re eating and how you’re feeling in the moment*
The practice of meditation has been around for centuries (because it works!) but many people find it daunting. Meditation and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. By allowing your mind to wander aimlessly and without judgment, you are prioritizing your life in the present moment. There are actually several apps that help guide you through meditation, whether you’re a beginner or expert.
*Two of our favorites are Headspace and Calm (#notsponsored). If you’re not already into meditating, start small and build a habit. A quick 5 minutes a day will do the trick*
The practice of mindfulness is as simple as taking a moment to check in on your body, your mind, and your surroundings. Incorporating these habits into your daily life can dramatically improve your health, productivity, and overall well-being.