I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard about it yet. MINDFULNESS. The practice of living in the moment instead of dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.
It’s hard to do! Try it. Just be still and focus on your breath going in and out. Before you know it, you’re making a grocery list in your mind or agonizing about what you should have said in your team meeting last week. Sound familiar?
I practice mindfulness – the act of catching myself not being present and bringing myself back time and time again – because it’s good for my health. A present mind = less stress & illness = winning at life (thanks, science!).
Here are 4 tools / tips / little nuggets of helpfulness that I use to remember to be mindful:
1. Download an App
Turn your smartphone obsession into a positive daily habit of mindfulness that helps you chill the eff out, focus, and return to your life a little bit happier and with a fresh perspective.
When I take even 5 minutes out of my day to sit up straight and listen to a calm voice telling me to breathe, my blood pressure drops and I release the urge to kick the crap out of a printer a la Office Space (PC Load Letter?!).
Personally I use the Calm app (that Tamara Levitt has the voice of an angel). You can get a “daily dose” of calm with different topics, and even set it for how much time you have to meditate. It also has “sleep stories” that helped me doze off when I was up all night fretting over when my newborn would wake up again.
Interested? Here’s a great article on the best meditation apps of 2017 to find the one that’s right for you.
2. Pocket-Sized Book
There’s something about real books – and snail mail for that matter – that excite me. Call me nostalgic. You can also call me thrifty when I whip out this little book in a waiting room to save myself the data charges from no Wi-Fi.
Simple little practices make ALL the difference. For example, when you’re in your car at a red light, tune into the sounds around you. The rattle of your engine. The silky voice of Bruno Mars on the radio. Or in the morning when you’re getting ready, try doing everything with your non-dominant hand.
Jan Chozen Bays’ book, Mindfulness on the Go, has 25 of these simple yet powerful daily practices that take you out of your head and back to the NOW. Mindfulness is available to you every moment if you look for it.
How awesome is this watch? Well, you either think it’s awesome, or think it’s ridiculous. I’ve had lots of people say to me, “So it doesn’t actually TELL TIME?!” No, but that’s not the point.
It serves a greater purpose. It reminds me to keep my mind on what I’m doing.
- Not yesterday = coulda, shoulda, woulda (not helpful)
- Not tomorrow = a never-ending to-do list that keeps me in an exhausting state of worry
- But now = peace & happiness
I think that NOW is where it’s at. It’s that feeling of contentment you get when you’re completely immersed in an activity. For me it’s prepping dinner, but for you it might be at yoga class, in the mountains, in a boardroom closing a big deal, etc. Whatever the case, you’re feeling happy not because of the activity itself, but because your mind is completely focused in presence. In pure joy.
Choose your own accessory at Steal Time Back. Half of profits go to children in need.
4. Get inked
What you say?! Tattoos aren’t for everyone. If you find it too extreme or needles give you the willies, maybe just get the watch.
BUT, if you’re like me and have a nagging urge to imprint something meaningful on your body to carry with you always then I say, hooray! Make it fun. Make it powerful. Find something that grips you. Something that will take you out of your head and plant your feet on the ground. And for heaven’s sake, make sure you go to a reputable shop with health standards.
Here’s mine and what it means to me (please ignore the chipped polish in the photo #momlife #keepitreal).
It’s a quote from Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh: smile, breathe and go slowly.
- Smile = don’t take everything so seriously, we’re only here for a short while
- Breathe = calm down, you can’t do everything, be present
- Go slowly = don’t rush through your life
That’s all I’ve got. Go forth and be mindful, and watch your mental and physical health transform right before your eyes.
Originally published at www.pixelatedpinto.com