Do you ever feel like it’s as if you’re on cruise control? You go through your day and complete everything, but it’s almost like you weren’t there. You said hi to your co-worker, but if someone asked what he or she was wearing you would have no idea. You ate your lunch, but if someone asked to describe all of the different flavors you would have no clue. You spoke with a friend, but if someone asked what kind of face expressions he or she made while talking you would shrug your shoulders.
You were on auto-pilot.
Everyday, we wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, partake in a post-work activity, eat dinner, sleep, and repeat. The question is – are we mindful of each one of those activities and everything that happens in between? Or, are we just going through the motions?
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that often times it’s as if I am half there and half somewhere else. Probably in my head day dreaming about some utopia world with unicorns and rainbows. Or, hyper-focusing on how I feel and driving myself crazy trying to figure out why I am feeling that way. Snowball effect. Not pretty.
Through research and a lot of self-reflection, I am coming to realize how wrong and detrimental all of that behavior is for me. Not being in the present moment only takes me a step back. It makes me anxious and consumed by irrational thoughts lost in a cloud of “what if’s” and “how comes.” I am so stuck in my head that I miss out on a beautiful opportunity or moment that is happening right in front of me.
That’s why I’m working on being mindful.
Mindful: “Conscious or aware of something.”
Coming from being the A.D.D queen, mindfulness takes a great deal of concentration and brain training. I promise. however, that practicing such a trait will add to your happiness and success. You will become smarter, more observant, and more interesting. Life becomes more interesting. No, I am not smoking weed right now. This is just real talk.
When being mindful, you open your senses up to a whole new world, and you can see the tiny details in life that you previously were blind to. You are more in tune with your body, you can really feel, and you can truly connect. Last but not least, you can find appreciation in the most minuscule things.
Ultimately, mindfulness comes from being engaged in the “now.” It’s all that matters. It’s all that we have control over.
Here are some examples of incorporating mindfulness into your everyday routine:
You wake up, and you feel “tired.” It’s so easy to say that word, but what does it actually mean? Pay attention to each body part. Does your head feel fuzzy? Do you feel pressure behind your eyes? Does your throat feel tighter? How is your posture?
It’s breakfast time. What does your stomach feel like right before you eat? Yah, hungry. But define hungry. Do you feel it right below your belly button? Is it a huge hollow space? Is it just on the right side? When you grab a fork or spoon, where are your fingers placed? And when you have that first bite, what do you actually taste? What makes it good or bad? Can you decipher the ingredients? What noise does the food make when you chew? How long do you have to chew?
Time to brush your teeth! What does it feel like when the toothbrush bristles touch your gums? The noise they make on your teeth? What kind of a motion do you do? How tight are you holding the toothbrush?
You feel irritable and depressed later on in the day. What’s that feeling like? Are you holding a lot of tension in your face? Do you have a pit in your stomach? Does that tension and pit build when someone speaks to you? What are you thinking about?
When it comes to emotions especially, try not judging your feelings. Recognize that this is what mad or sad feels like. Then accept and move on. Once you can be mindful of what is going on, it is easier to separate your judgment and emphasis on your emotions. It’s easier to just “be”.
I could write a novel on mindfulness. It is so interesting, inspiring, and therapeutic. I have seen noticeable differences in myself since practicing, and I encourage you to do the same. Start off with some leisure research, maybe read a book or two, and start implementing this technique into your everyday lifestyle.
If you want to self-improve, start here. Be mindful.