Being mindful is so important, especially in society today. Everyone is so anxious and stressed, so learning how to become present is a great skill to master. Here are my top five tips to help you become mindful.
Breathing is something we do naturally, without any thought. But, did you know, that most of us don't actually breath correctly? Do this now. Take a deep breath in. Did you feel your stomach suck in or push out as you inhaled? To breath deeply, your belly should push out as you inhale, and retract as you exhale. Most of us have this the wrong way and we deprive ourselves of getting the most of out the breath. Really think about this next time you breathe and see how you feel. I have mentioned this in a previous blog post, but my breathing counts look like this. Inhale deeply for 8 counts, hold for 4 counts and exhale for 8 counts. Push out as much air as you can on the exhale (really empty the lungs) before inhaling again and repeating.
2. Morning routine
Get yourself a solid morning routine. What you do in the morning, and how you feel, really sets you up for the day. I totally understand it is so hard for many people in the morning. Trust me I have a baby, mornings are tough. But if you can, get up 20 mins earlier, make yourself a big glass of lemon water and just sit still. If you can do a ten minute meditation and write down three things you are grateful for. Gratitude is the quickest way to set a positive tone for the day. We are all so conditioned to look at what we lack rather than seeing what we have.
Learning to master the skill of non-reactivity is honestly a game-changer. "When emotions are high, intelligence is low" - this is absolutely spot on. When you feel the urge to react, pause, take a deep breath and respond with thought rather than feeling. When our emotions are heightened they can often lie. I am not saying don't speak your truth, but just be mindful. Have you ever had an argument with someone and shouted something nasty, only to feel guilty about it ten mins later? That's because you let your emotions (anger) speak first. Learn to only give your energy to things that matter and let go of things that do not serve you. This is one I am still practicing daily.
4. Pay attention
Coming back to the present moment is extremely difficult. We are programmed to look ahead, even back, but not often do we settle in and appreciate the present moment. We dwell on the past and worry about the future. Pay attention. Get present. Try setting your alarm sporadically throughout the day. This will serve as a reminder to bring you back to the present moment. Today, try setting your alarm to sound at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. Each time it goes off, stop, and take 3 deep breaths. Think about where you are and exactly what you are doing. Try not to think about what you will be doing later, only what you are doing right now. Reality is, we only have the present moment so pay attention to it.
5. Set healthy boundaries
Say no more often. If there is an event that you don't want to go to, don't go. Set healthy boundaries for yourself. You don't owe anyone an explanation. It seems these days we all feel like we owe people a long explanation as to why we can't make something. You always know when someone is overcompensating because they give full blown excuses as to why they can't do something. Next time you are stressed about telling someone no, instead of explaining your whole life story, try just saying "thank you, but I won't be able to make it". Obviously don't be rude, but set yourself boundaries and don't feel bad for saying no more often.
There you have it, my top five tips for becoming mindful. Try implementing these techniques into your every day life and see how you feel. I promise you won't regret it.