Do you ever feel like your mind is about to explode? Our hyper-connected world provides a lot of distractions in our daily lives. Smartphones make it even harder to concentrate on a single task without the urge to check your emails, social media and all sorts of notifications. This state of busyness and flurry of activities have made the practice of mindfulness vital for our mental well-being.
According to a study, the practice of mindfulness and meditation not only boosts your brain capacity, it also improves your immune system. Mindfulness is defined as a state of active and open attention on the present. Being mindful means focusing on present feelings, thoughts and observations without judgment. In doing so, you actually free your mind from clutter and become more aware of your immediate environment. Meanwhile, the lack of judgment allows you to become more compassionate and understanding. This prevents you from lashing out on loved ones and colleagues.
Here are simple ways of incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.
Take breaks for meditation
Whenever you’re feeling stressed out or angry, take a few minutes to clear your mind. You can actually meditate anytime, anywhere. If you’re a beginner and you don’t know how to start, consider trying out guided course to help you grasp the basics. There’s also a ton of apps like Headspace to help you get started. Meditation works best when it’s practiced on a regular basis. Pick a time each day and commit to it in order to better integrate this routine to your day-to-day.
Take a walk
Walking is a therapeutic activity. Whereas riding in vehicles can make you tune out your environment, walking allows your body to become more aware of the world around you. Whether it’s walking to work or taking a hike outdoors, the active movement of going to a specified destination gives you the opportunity to focus your mind on the present. Instead of thinking about what you are going to do and the pile of tasks you need to attend to, concentrate instead on how your body feels and take in the sights and sounds around you.
Multi-tasking is a myth. Instead of accomplishing a lot of things at the same time, multi-tasking can actually result in mediocre work. Think about it, if you’re dividing your attention on several things, you’re bound to overlook a lot of information. There are limits to how much information you can take in, hence your brain retains only those it deems important. Because your mind can only really focus on one thing at a time, mindfulness can help you direct your full energy on completing one task with excellent results. So the next time you feel the urge to watch a series while writing a report and chatting with your colleagues, resist. Think about how much more comprehensive and meaningful your output is going to be if you allow yourself to focus on the task at hand.
Be mindful while waiting
Waiting in queues at the bank or waiting for someone at a café can make some people antsy. Time and time again we’ve been reminded just how precious a commodity time is, so we can’t afford to waste it. What we forget though is that we always have a choice to make the most of the time we have. So waiting can be the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. While waiting in line, instead of tuning out, opt to tune in to your surroundings. Remember that mindfulness does not mean that you can’t feel or think about certain things. You are just experiencing them from a neutral standpoint. Instead of being impatient and stressing out over the passing time, focus on your awareness of all the emotions building up inside you or focus on all the people who are waiting in line just like you, and don’t attach any judgment. You’ll notice that the time will pass more quickly without increasing your aggravation.
Create an indoor cactus garden
This may sound odd, but creating a green patch at home can help lower your stress levels. Plants also help filter toxins from indoor atmosphere so the value of an indoor cactus garden is three-fold: mental health, physical well-being and aesthetics. It’s almost like taking the lush outdoors into your home. Cactus and succulents are low-maintenance, so they don’t need a lot of upkeep to survive. Much like mindfulness, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to sustain. The process of creating your cactus garden can be a mindful activity by itself. You focus on transferring the succulents you ordered from your online florist to new pots and arranging them in a pleasing way in a designated corner. Once you’ve set it up, this corner can then become your meditation area, akin to a Zen garden.