Who wouldn’t want to feel more peaceful, worry less, and be present and happy in the moment?
At this point, most people have heard that there are many benefits to meditation, but most of us have trouble mustering up the willpower to actually do it.
To make matters worse, the benefits of sitting meditation are really only evident if it is practiced regularly, with today’s busy schedules that’s almost impossible for some people to do.
A regular sitting meditation practice is a lovely concept, but in all honesty, it may not be realistic or even desirable for a lot of folks.
That’s why mindfulness is a better option for many living in today’s busy world.
As it turns out, a sitting practice isn’t the only way to gain the benefits of meditation. Practicing mindfulness can just as effective, and it can be done anywhere, anytime, RIGHT NOW!
By fully experiencing what is happening in the present moment, you train yourself to spend less time in your head, more time in your body, and actually live the life you’re living (rather than thinking about the past and the future all the time). This inevitably takes a huge load of stress off your back and makes life a whole lot juicer in the process.
Here are 5 tips on how to increase mindfulness in your everyday life:
1. Come Home as a Child
Have you ever watched a little kid discover something new and proceed to do it over and over again, just to feel what it feels like?
I’m not going to tell you to open and close the door 20 times when you walk into your house, but start noticing the sensory details of an action like this: what the air smells like outside your home vs. inside your home, how the doorknob feels in your hand as it is turned, how your body stands differently once you take your shoes off.
When you come home, let yourself decompress for a moment by truly enjoying the moment of your arrival.
2. Do Chores
That’s right. Do chores.
But instead of going through the motions to get chores done, start noticing what you’re doing and what it feels like.
Feel the water on your hands as you do the dishes, notice the softness of the sheets as you make your bed, dance with your vacuum cleaner and feel the soles of your feet on the ground.
When you start witnessing what you’re doing and do each action deliberately, you’ll not only enjoy it more, but you’ll be less likely to let a dish slip out of your hand, saving you time and sanity in the long run.
3. Question Yourself
Whether we like it or not, everyone experiences unpleasant emotions.
When we do, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the story associated with our feelings and spiral deeper into the darkness.
Next time you’re feeling grumpy, impatient, or restless, take a deep breath and ask yourself if the part of you that is observing the emotion is feeling the same way. This will help you take your feelings less seriously so you don’t end up feeling even worse.
4. Listen While You Wait
There are many moments throughout the day when we have to wait for something, whether we’re sitting in rush hour, waiting for the computer to load, or standing in a checkout line at the grocery store.
Instead of thinking about the things you have to do, try listening to your surroundings and see what you hear. Become fully present in the moment and experience the space around you.
Since you can’t change the situation, you might as well use it as an opportunity to have a full-sensory experience.
5. Go for a Stroll
When you go for a walk with no intention of getting anywhere, no distance or time-frame to measure your accomplishment, you give yourself the great gift of experiencing exactly where you are.
Feel what your feet feel like as the weight shifts from one foot to the next, “walk as though your feet are kissing the ground,” as Thich Nhat Hanh so wisely puts it. Notice your breath and heart beat as you take each step. Keep your eyes open and look at familiar things with new curiosity.
No matter what you do, every waking moment is an opportunity to become more present. If you take advantage of the moments throughout your day, this practice can change your life.