Bringing mindful, paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment, has been gaining in popularity these days – once considered a developed a spiritual practice, it’s now got a foothold in pop culture. Research shows time and time again that people are happier when paying attention to what they’re doing. While the best way to build up a strong level of mindfulness into your life is by developing a regular sitting meditation practice, the ultimate goal is to make it a part of your day-to-day life – paying increasingly peaceful attention on the present moment.
On this site, there is a store with a range of products which you might use everyday, each with a Mindfully Growing logo as a prompt to you to Stop and Be.
Of course, you don’t need to buy anything to do this! Here’s a picture of my computer as I write. A simple post-it note reminds me to Breathe. There’s one on my office door that I see when I leave, one on a mirror in the bathroom – clearly, leaving notes to yourself to remind you to stop and be present is easy.
Using an app with reminders might also work for you. I use an app called Productive which sets reminder bells throughout the day and as each rings, I take the next opportunity to sit and focus on my breath for one minute.
You can also set regular daily activities as mindfulness prompts. Brushing your teeth, tying your laces, making coffee, sitting to a meal – all of these things we tend to do mindlessly and yet they can be some of the most powerful reminders to be present in the moment.
Mindful waking. Do you hit the alarm and jump out of bed, or retreat groaning under your duvet? Try to be aware of your transition from sleep to wakefulness. Make waking each day a moment to cherish as you become mindful of your breathing, how your body feels, sounds in the room, thoughts which race for your attention.
Mindful eating. Do you ever finish a snack or even a meal without remembering having enjoyed the food you were eating. Make a commitment to have one good slow mindful mouthful of each meal you have during the day. Pay attention to the smell, texture and taste of the food. Wait until you have completely finished your mouthful before reaching for another!
Mindful housework. Seriously? Yes. Be it the washing, washing a plate or cup, sweeping or vacuuming a floor – bringing a sense of awareness and alertness to the activity will intensify your experience and make it something positive and constructive in your life, rather than a chore. Notice movements of your hands and arms, shifting your weight and the sounds you create.
Mindful showering. A great moment to stop, enjoy the sensation of water on skin, to breathe calmly, feel the texture of your own skin under your hands as you wash. Notice water temperate and movement, notice smells and sounds. See the shower not as a process to complete, but as a place you are. Now.
My advice would be to pick one activity and go with that for a week or so, before trying to be mindful in your entire day.
Can we use social media mindfully?
Find a comfortable, alert posture. Shrug your shoulders, take a few breaths, and bring your awareness to your physical and emotional state here and now. Open your computer or click on your phone.
Consider both your intentions and expectations. As you focus on the icon, notice what experiences you have in your mind and body. Why are you visiting this site? What are you hoping for?
How are you going to react and reply to different kinds of updates? By checking your social media, are you interested in connecting or distracting? Close your eyes and rest your awareness in your emotional state for a couple of breaths before you begin to engage. Opening your eyes now, look at the first status update or photo, and then sit back and close your eyes again. Notice how you are responding—your emotion. Is it excitement? Restlessness? Jealousy? Regret? Worry?
How does this emotion manifest in the mind and body?
What do you now feel like doing? Reading more, following a link, sharing something yourself, ‘liking’ something or something else?
Wait a breath or two for these feelings to pass, or focus on your breath, your body, your surroundings. And then permit yourself to respond.