“I can’t believe the year is almost over!” Has this thought crossed your mind lately? It seems that during this time of year people start to wonder where they’ve been over the last couple of months. With the world becoming more hectic, with more responsibility, more stress, more technology, and less time to take care of ourselves, mindfulness can help us by become consciously aware of the present moment. Adding the practice of mindfulness to our daily lives can give rise to a happier and more vivid life.
Mindfulness can be described as a delicate and continuous act to be present with each moment. In the book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh, one can find many different acts that can be practiced during the day to have mindful moments. There are three that are simple to do every day, no matter where you are.
Walk in the moment.
Move more, think less.
Try conscious walking. When walking from point A to point B, our minds are usually cluttered with thoughts of the past or the future. By opting to take those moments during the day to be mindful, our stress levels will reduce and our minds will be clearer. To be mindful while walking, become consciously aware that you will be walking from point A to point B. Before you take the first step, take a deep breath and while exhaling, take the first step. As you continue to walk, take your awareness to the soles of your feet. Notice the heel touching the ground and notice how that feels. If you become aware of thoughts that are distracting you from the conscious awareness of walking, acknowledge them and bring the focus back to your feet. Continue to focus on the soles of your feet and when you arrive at your destination, take another deep breath, and continue with your day.
It’s just one of those days.
Use the half-smile. There are times that we may feel irritated and this feeling may stay longer than desired. A simple mindfulness technique can help counteract this. When you notice the feeling of irritation, half-smile. Yes, just half-smile, inhale and exhale quietly for three breaths, and maintain the half-smile. This simple act will reduce or even eliminate the irritation.
Be aware of your body. Next time you’re at a stoplight, waiting for the light to turn green, take a look at how you’re sitting or how you’re holding your head. Take a few deep, quiet breaths. Now think about why you might be sitting the way you are, or to go further, what is its purpose? If during this brief exercise you feel that the position you are currently in is uncomfortable, then resituate yourself and take a few more breaths. Many times our bodies take uncomfortable positions that we are not even aware of, and that can cause muscle aches or cramps. Putting an alarm on your phone to remind you to do this exercise is a great way to reduce stress during the day and change your poor habits of posture.
Sticking to these three simple ways of being mindful will allow us to be more present in our lives. See if you can change, “I can’t believe the year is almost over!” to, “What an amazing year I’m having!”
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Editor: Ravynn Rohner
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Article: What is Mindfulness by Bodhipaksaby Bodhipaksa
Book: The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh