How to Start to Incorporate more Mindfulness into your Day and Life
By: Dilini Dharmawardana, LMFT
As Jon Kabat-Zinn once said “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” Mindfulness is paying attention and focusing on what you are doing and staying present. These days we tend to do things without knowing we are doing them. How many times do you notice yourself taking a shower and not remembering if you put shampoo on your hair yet and putting it in a second time because you are not focused on what you are doing?
Being more mindful is difficult especially these days when we have so much to do and so little time to do it. If we really focus on an activity and be present in what we’re doing, we may notice a big difference in how we feel while we do that activity and afterwards. One way that I find helpful in creating more mindfulness is to pick a time of day to focus on what you’re doing. One good place to try and be mindful, as a start, is to be focused on what you’re doing in the shower. Being more mindful helps relieve mental health symptoms as well as physical symptoms. Another way to become more mindful, especially these days, is to put down the phone and pay attention to the people you are with and the conversations you are having.
If we are too focused on the past or on the present, we miss out on what is currently happening. Think about how much time you spend worrying about your child tomorrow or yesterday as opposed to being focused on what is happening today. Your child will appreciate you being there for them and that is what they will remember when they grow up. Being mindful and practicing meditation goes hand in hand, but meditation can be difficult. Start off with checking in with yourself about how you are doing throughout the day. Taking a moment to check in with yourself can help you figure out how connected you are to your body and your needs. If you’re feeling tired or emotionally fatigued find a place to sit and pick something to notice that deals with each of your senses and focus on that to help ground yourself in the present moment. Sometimes we all need help getting out of our heads and into the present moment!
These days we all need to take a moment to be more mindful! Oftentimes when I am trying to read a book or watch TV, I will not be focused on the present moment and what is going on. Getting out of the past and future and just focusing on what is currently going on can help alleviate mental health symptoms. Being more mindful and beginning to meditate can help people sleep easier as well.
Pay attention to what is currently going on. Take a walk and notice all the sights and smells around you. If you are able to notice your surroundings when outside, mindfulness will be easier because focusing while in nature can be relaxing and therefore easier than anywhere else. So, try to find a quiet place to just and notice. Having a place to sit and notice can be helpful at work and home. Work-life and home-life can be stressful and having a quiet place to be mindful and relax can be less overwhelming.
Think about different ways you can incorporate more mindfulness into your life and day-to-day routine whether it is something small or something big. Start off small if mindfulness seems daunting to you. Being more mindful has many benefits and your relationships as well as your mental health will improve because you’re focusing more on them. So, find a way to better focus on now for a better tomorrow!