Mindfulness means to pay attention in the present moment, on purpose, without judgements and with compassion. It is very much doing it yourself (DIY) practice where others can only show you the way, but you will need to learn to walk yourself. If your mind is often busy in the past or future, you may be on an autopilot mode and missing the present moment.
You don’t have to set a separate time to be mindful. It is a life skill and you can use every opportunity to be mindful while you’re walking, eating, taking shower, washing dishes, doing your Yoga or gym, it can be practised anywhere no matter where you are and what you’re doing.
1. Take Intentional Pauses – couple of times a day bring your mind to the present on the task at hand. This may be by being aware that you are sitting on your chair and feeling the weight of your body, as the babies are crying knowing that is happening, or as you read your email knowing what you’re reading. So you’re coming out of that thinking mode and coming to the being mode.
2. Do one thing at a time – we try to do everything at the same time thinking we get more done. You are only exhausting yourself out because your brain can only do one thing at a time it just does it in such a speed that it feel like you’re multi tasking but you are not multi tasking. As a result you are not focused and your brain is cultured and tired.
3. Come back to the present moment – our mind is often in the past, future or fantasies (mind-wandering.) Every time you become aware that your mind is wandering, come back to present using your senses. So just being aware of breathing, smelling, seeing things, hearing the various sound. Simply be aware of the present surrounding.
4. Be in your body – catch how many times your mind may be wandering? If you haven’t practised mindfulness meditation before, you may notice that the mind is often flying high or low getting upset. In that case, bring your mind back home to the body where it belongs. So just few times a day bring gentle awareness of how your toes may be feeling or how your fingers are from typing all day.
5. Stop worrying about the future – future hasn’t happened yet and it will never go the way you imagined it to be. The truth is future depends on now. If you worry in the present moment, you are creating the worrying future. Be present and let go of anxiety and worries. You can instead plan mindfully in the present moment without the worries.
6. Take time to eat/savour your food – how many of us gulp down the food or eat while watching TV or chatting. Many of our clients have mentioned that they hardly remember the taste of the food even after finishing a whole meal. Be present with your eating experience. Taste the food while you eat. While eating, notice your taste in different parts of the mouth? You may like to experience it next time you eat and you may find that you eat less because you’ll be satisfied with what little you eat.
7. Take time to do nothing – you don’t need to be doing something all the time. One of our teachers used to say it’s good to do nothing because when there’s something that needs to be done, then you can use all your energy and doing it properly. So take time to be you. Take time to be aware of getting to know yourself a little better, so you feel comfortable in your body.
8. Recognise that thoughts are just thoughts – our thoughts really do rule our lives. The thoughts that we go to sleep with or wake up with tends to stick around for a long time. We tend to behave in certain ways as a result of these thoughts. When we become aware of these thoughts we want to avoid them. Please remember that Mindfulness is not about emptying or blanking your mind. You are simply being aware of these thoughts without categorising them as good or bad. Knowing thoughts just as thoughts is like seeing clouds as clouds in the sky. They come and go. The more attention you give them the more intense they become. Simply observe and let them come and go.
9. Learn to Respond than react – we have judgements about every situation and event that happen. We not only react verbally but also mentally. Notice the judgments in your mind and learn to take a pause and be aware of these judgements. Learn to pause first to check what’s happening and then respond appropriately.
10. Be kind to yourself – most important of all it seems the culture we are living these days we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We are really hard on ourselves. Remember we are human. We make mistakes and it’s ok as we can get up again. We feel emotions and that’s ok too, we can let it pass. Things that happened, it already happened. You can’t go back in time and change it. Telling yourself about it over and over again won’t change the past. Being kind to yourself, being gentle to yourself is not being selfish. It is in fact the first responsibility of being a human to be safe and well, so you can help others. If you are not there for yourself, how can you be there for others?