Mondays and Mindfulness
It’s Monday and time to be mindful! What is mindfulness? Many will say mindfulness is a focus on relaxation, but that isn’t it. Some will offer that mindfulness can only be achieved through purposeful mediation, but that isn’t it either. Mindfulness is simply the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; to be mindful is to notice what is happening around you and within you. I thought it would be helpful to review techniques to remain mindful, especially when you’re stressed or having a tough time. Below I’ve made a list of 10 ways to remain mindful throughout the day and be attuned to your emotional, physical, and mental space.
1. Do a body scan. Do you feel tightness in your shoulders or neck? Take some time to stretch. Have you eaten today? Is your stomach feeling empty? How about your fluid/water intake? Is your mouth dry? Taking time to review your body and its organs allows you to be present in your body and become aware of its needs that you may have ignored in your lack of mindfulness.
2. Have a device-free morning. Try spending the first 10-15 minutes of your day without a device. Notice how your body feels after a night of rest. Are you still tired? Or do you feel ready for your day?
3. Take a mindful walk. Try walking at work or at home and notice how your mind and body are during the walk. Do you take big, heavy steps? Or are you walking faster than intended and running out of breath?
4. Practice mindful eating. Try eating without distractions - no phones, no TV, no reading. Make an attempt to be present with your meal. Notice the flavors in the food. Notice how your stomach may fill up after a few bites or still feel hungry after finishing your serving.
5. Live in the moment. This can sometimes be easier said than done, but try to notice what is happening around you. Take time to express appreciation or take time to express discomfort in your surroundings without rushing your brain to think of the next moment or previous moments.
6. Connect with your senses. Notice in the moment what your five senses are perceiving. What do you taste currently? Your morning coffee? Or the late lunch you had? What can you see? Do you hear anything? Is there a smell around you? How do your surroundings feel? Is your seating soft and comfortable or unsupportive and hard?
7. Observe your thoughts. Take time in the day to just notice the things that are on your mind. If it feels like a deluge of thoughts, take time to write those thoughts down to return to later.
8. Be a single-tasker. Try not to multi-task as this often robs our brains of the chance to be mindfully connected to what we are doing. Instead of cooking dinner while reading the news and creating a to-do list for the week, take time to be invested in each activity separately allowing you to be present fully.
9. Keep a grateful/gratitude journal. Take 10 minutes at the end of each day to write out gratitude about things/people/lessons for which you are grateful.
10. Mindful breathing. Take time to notice how you are taking breaths. Are they short and staggered or long and fulfilling?
Try to remain mindful this week!