Life is exceedingly busy, and mindfulness can be an essential and useful skill, particularly for business owners and leaders who can feel overwhelmed by the whirlwind of decisions and activities around them.
However, this isn’t a skill quickly mastered: Being properly in the moment requires practice and patience, along with the right perspective. To help get you started, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
What is one thing you regularly advise someone new to practicing mindfulness? Why is it so important?
1. Be Consistent
When you decide to practice mindfulness, be consistent! It’s important to do mindfulness practices regularly because the more you practice, the easier mindfulness will become. If you are only practicing mindfulness once every now and then, you won’t improve or reap as many benefits.
2. Focus on Small Intervals
It’s not possible to be mindful 100 percent of the time. However, it’s usually enough to practice mindfulness a few minutes at a time, several times a day. As you practice, you’ll become better at living in the present moment for a longer time period. It’s important to not give yourself a hard time if you lose track of your thoughts. It’s normal and you’ll get better over time.
3. Write in a Journal
People that are new to practicing mindfulness should write in a journal every day. Try writing about your life like a passive observer. Writing it down every day will help you get in the right mindset to make mindfulness a part of your daily life.
4. Always Set Time Aside
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be something you set aside lots of time for. It can be something you do in your everyday life. When just getting started, try identifying an existing routine in your life that you can turn into a mindfulness exercise. This could be your subway ride in the morning, brushing your teeth or waiting in line for that morning coffee.
5. Be Patient
Being patient and understanding the process of what mindfulness is, is critical to mastering the practice in all aspects of living. Practicing every day will help you become a pro.
6. Eliminate Distractions
We all know that mobile devices are distracting in themselves, but there is a lot more we can do to remove various distractions from our lives as well. This is just one of the many components to achieving mindfulness. Focus less on the tedious and monetary tasks of the day and take a moment to sit back and really think about how “rich” you are in life. This would be family, friends, food and more.
7. Create an Easy Routine
Mindfulness is a practice and consistency is critical. I recommend creating a ritual that’s easy to accomplish on bad days. I recommend starting with a simple 10-minute morning routine and a 10-minute evening routine. In the morning, I outline my most important task for the day and three additional things that need to occur. In the evening, I reflect on the biggest lesson of the day.
8. Use a Mindfulness or Meditation App
There are apps with guided meditations that remind you to breathe more deeply, and to just help you stay in the moment. One trick is to combine mindfulness with time management. For example, if you use the Pomodoro Technique, you work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break. During the break, you can focus on breathing and being present. When being mindful, put work and other concerns aside.
9. Integrate Your Mindfulness
Integrate your mindfulness practices into routines you already have and use skills you already possess. If you exercise, try listening to meditations and affirmations while you are exercising. Even if it is a five-minute YouTube video on the treadmill, the information will permeate your subconscious. Many people practice walking meditations if they cannot sit still, and the benefits are the same.
10. Use a Mindfulness Filter When Making Decisions
When you are practicing mindfulness, it’s important to always ask yourself, “Would a mindful person do this?” Take everything into consideration, don’t judge yourself and be more observant. Through being mindful, you experience less stress, make better decisions and like yourself more.
11. Find Time to Be Still
To be mindful is a gift people nowadays tend to not have because of the many things life has to offer. We all tend to multitask, keep ourselves busy and do things here or there. To be mindful, you need to find time to clear your head and be still. Once you compose your thoughts, take your time to absorb and take notes.
12. Don’t Try to Silence Yourself
Many people complain that they can’t silence their mind during practice. From my experience, I learned that you don’t have to do it. Shutting your thoughts down is not the goal. The goal is awareness. Whenever you feel that your thoughts are starting to wander, acknowledge it and gently bring your awareness back to your breath. It takes practice and time, so no pressure. One step at a time.
13. Focus on Your Breathing
Focusing on your breathing is a great way to ease into being mindful for someone who is new to it. Taking slow, conscious breaths forces you to slow down and think about your actions. It helps you notice where the tension is in your body or if you’re breathing too fast from stress or anger. What makes this really nice is that you can do it anywhere, and at any time. All you have to do is breathe.
14. Create Physical Reminders
Pick a few objects or locations, like your laptop, journal or coffee tumbler, and place a small sticker on them. This sticker is a representation to remind you to pause, take a breath and be mindful. I practiced this with my car steering wheel and found each time I got into the car I would practice being mindful. It’s the small moments that make the biggest difference.
15. Practice Mindful Eating
It sounds strange but it is one of the fastest ways to realize how distracted you might be. Sit down for a meal with no one else, no phone, podcast or laptop to keep you entertained and eat in silence. You will quickly realize how much flavor exists in your food and what is going on within your body while you sit there.