Time, something we never feel we have enough of. Let's consider a typical workday. The sun rises, the responsibilities start, maybe you sneak in some breakfast or lunch, followed by to -do's, a little driving, activities, dinner, and bed. That seems to be the general timeline for many. It's like by the time we finally sit down to take a deep breath, we are closing out our day and getting ready to prepare for a new one. Without even realizing it, we allowed 12 hours to just slip right on by and didn't take a moment to enjoy it. It's no wonder we are a bunch of stressed out, irritable, and for some of us even unhappy, individuals.
You may be reading this and think, "NO not true, I am mindful of my time." If that's the case, this post isn't for you.
But you may be like many, reading this and think, "Yes, I can relate. I am on that hamster wheel." And in that case, please keep reading.
Time is simple, yet so complex. For many of us we like to think of it as the past, present, and future. This is true, there is a past, present, and future, but the only time that truly matters is the present. Read that again. The only time that truly matters is the present moment. This very moment right now, and every present moment after it, in that present moment.
The past is a series of present moments that have been lived, are now gone, and are not coming back.
The future is a series of anticipated present moments that may or may not ever occur.
The ONLY time that truly matters is the present moment.
So, ask yourself this question: Do I live in the present moment?
Some of us may say yes (not sure I believe you, but that is beside the point). Some of us may say sometimes, or I try to. And some of us may say no (and that's ok. Remember, this is a no judgement zone. All the information that I offer is simply to assist you in your personal growth.)
I'd guess we have more people who answered sometimes and no, then we do yes. Living in the moment is HARD. Honestly, in our world today, I am not sure that one could truly live in the moment ALL of the time. It is a practice that requires us to slow down. It requires awareness. To live in the present moment is to practice mindfulness. The act of noticing, being aware.
While we might not be able to truly live in the moment, every moment. It is beneficial to us to weave a mindfulness practice into our daily lives. As always, I only speak from experience. I am not a licensed therapist, however, from experience a mindfulness practice can significantly reduce feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and stress. If you are someone who is familiar with the feelings of stress and anxiety, then I would invite you try one, or all of the below mindfulness practices. The mindfulness practices that I chose to share with you are simple and can realistically be worked into a daily schedule.
Mindfulness Practices to Try:
1. Mindful Morning Coffee/Tea:
Use your morning cup of joe to practice your mindfulness. You will want to find a cozy, quiet space for this practice, or even outside. Unplug completely. No phone, no TV, no electronics. Begin your mindfulness practice from the moment you choose your mug. Notice the mug you choose. Why did you choose it? Appreciate the artwork or the words. As you prepare your cup of coffee and tea notice the smells. Take in the aroma. Notice what happens in your mouth, it may water. Notice what happens to your mood, it may lighten. After you have your cup of coffee/tea, find a quiet space to enjoy it. Before even taking a sip, enjoy the warmth of the mug in your hands. Again, smell it. As you take your first sip, pause to savor it. And continue to take slow sips savoring and really appreciating the smallest things such as your morning cup of coffee/tea. As you sit with your drink you may begin to notice your mind wanders. You may begin to notice you are tempted to pick up your phone or begin a task. Catch yourself right there. Do not judge. Simply notice and then give yourself permission to return to your drink, all else can wait. As you sit with your drink you may also begin to notice thoughts, feelings, emotions. This is good. Allow yourself to process them. Many times, we keep ourselves busy so that we do not have time to feel. Feel it, but then let it go, return to your drink. Continue this daily practice and take note of how it becomes easier over time to unplug and enjoy, it may even end up being the highlight of your day.
2. Five Senses:
This is especially a great activity for anyone who experiences anxiety. It is very simple, yet effective. If you begin to notice yourself feeling anxious check in with your five senses. What are 5 things I can see? What are 4 things I can touch? What are three things I can hear? What are 2 things I can smell? What is 1 thing I can taste? This activity aids in grounding you and bringing you back to the present moment.
3. Set your Intentions:
Intentionally set your intentions. This may be a good activity to pair up with your morning coffee. This will require a quiet space and maybe a few extra minutes in the morning. You may be familiar with intentions. Perhaps you choose and intention/s for the year on New Year's. Being intentional with your day everyday can be a great way to practice Mindfulness. In the morning ask yourself, "What is it that I need in this moment?" It could be rest, strength, courage, forgiveness, etc. And this need could and will likely change day to day, maybe even hour to hour, if you are checking in with your emotions and being honest with yourself. This will require that you unplug. Be quiet and listen to the thoughts that arise. From there set your intention for the day.
4. Break to Breathe
How many times a day do you pause to notice your breath? Probably not much if at all, unless you have a fancy app that alerts you. And you may think "well why do I have to?" You don't have to, however, there are many scientifically proven benefits to practicing breathwork. For today, I'd like to share equal part breathing with you. Equal part breathing is a great breath that can calm the nervous system, quiet the mind, and strengthen the lungs. I will offer a count of 4, however, once you try this exercise you might find that a count of 3 or 5 may work better. You choose a number that is best for you.
To practice: Exhale completely and then INHALE for 1-2-3-4. EXHALE for 4-3-2-1. Continue this pattern for five rounds before allowing yourself to return to your normal breathing pattern. For someone like me with a monkey mind, this is a great breath. In order to practice this breath, you must focus on the count and if you are focusing on the count, you are unable to focus on anything else. Breathing exercises are a great way to practice mindfulness and so beneficial for our health.
I hope that you will give these mindfulness practices a try. Make time for mindfulness and you will find that you actually begin to find time for everything else plus, it's good for the mind and body.
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Have a beautiful day, INJOY!