“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.” – Eckhart Tolle
A few years back, I was driving my little Toyota corolla down the street, going my regular route to work. Suddenly I found myself parked, at work, and I literally had no idea how I got there. Isn’t that scary? Our brains get put into auto pilot mode and we simply flow through the motions of our regular routine. Truthfully, our minds are in a different place, thinking of what we need to do the next day, what we are going to make for dinner, when we are going to see our girlfriends next. This is the exact opposite, of being mindful.
mind·ful·ness // noun : the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
In short, mindfulness is being present with the moment. This seems so simple in words but can be so challenging in reality, especially with how fast-paced and task-oriented our society has become. We are on our computers during lunch, on the phone while we are driving and checking our i-cal’s while we drink our coffee. Sometimes it feels impossible to have some time to just… be still.
So today, I thought I could write about four simple ways we can incorporate mindfulness into our everyday routine.
1. Mindful Breathing
We have become so disconnected with our bodies that we don’t even realize what is happening inside of us on a regular basis. Our breath happens automatically, and though this is a blessing (can you imagine if we had to remember to breathe everyday?!) it is also a curse. I like to call our breath our “personal power”… Taking time to reconnect with this personal power, our life’s energy that lays deep within our bodies is so important when it comes to being aware of our bodies and being aware of the world around us. Which in short, IS the art of mindfulness.
Listen to your breath. Count how long your inhales and your exhales are, and practice breathing deeply into the belly. Inhaling to expand the belly, and exhaling to deflate (imagine your tummy is a balloon).
Even when if are riding the train, driving in your car, sitting down for lunch… Take 5-10 minutes just to listen to your breath.
2. Mindful Waking
Our first moments when we awake are some of the most important parts of our day. For a lot of us, those first few seconds are spent with our faces in our screens only to be followed by a load up on caffeine simply to stay awake. For so long, I woke up with so little time to do anything in the morning. I was frantic, realizing I had slept through all of my alarms, having no time to eat, sit, or even SHOWER. It felt so unhealthy. I woke up in a rush and it lead my entire day to feel the same until I went to sleep that night. Now, my waking time is sacred. I make sure I wake up with enough time to make tea, to turn my diffuser on, to sit and eat breakfast.
Do your best to wake up with intention. Staying away from screens for the first twenty-thirty minutes and taking a few moments to notice the weather outside, to do something you enjoy, to make yourself a nutritious breakfast.
3. Mindful Eating
We live in a world of fast-food restaurants, gas station sushi, standing up while eating and carrying work into our lunch break. But the truth is, eating is sacred. We should honor that sacredness. Our bodies need nourishment, and the entire idea of wellness and health is about what we do to our bodies and also what we put into it. Mindful eating is about two things: one, being mindful about what we literally put into our bodies, and two, being mindful about the physical act of eating. When was the last time you took the time to embrace how your food tastes? Or noticed the texture in your mouth? Or even had the entire mouth of food chewed BEFORE you swallow?
I will be the first to tell you, I am SO bad with this. I have been doing my best at every meal to take a moment before I eat to express my gratitude, and then really taking time to chew my entire mouthful of food and eat slowly, with intention, and truly be present with every moment. (I’m the fastest eater in the world, ask my husband).
I challenge you to eat without doing ANYTHING else. No TV, no phone, no conversations, no books, no writing. See if you can just be present with your food without any other distraction.
4. Mindful Walking
It has been scientifically proven that taking a few moments to walk through nature will boost your mood and happiness. One of the best ways we can be present is with our Earth, noticing the trees around us and noticing how blue the sky is that day. It is so simple yet so hard for so many of us.
Next time you are walking outside (even if its filled with concrete) notice your surroundings. Notice the steps that you take as you feel the ground underneath you, notice the smell of the air, the temperature of the day. Taking time to notice makes all of the difference.
Mindfulness is a gift. Lets embrace it, love it, and be with it every moment that we can.
Happy Wellness Wednesday friends, and have an amazing Thanksgiving! 🙂