By Ellen Holton for HartsSpace
The last several months of my life have been full of exciting, yet stressful events: planning a wedding, applying to and choosing a school, planning a big move and working full time.
I have easily been getting lost in the “what if’s” and worries. I am very good at going down that rabbit hole and feeling suffocated by the unknowns and the uncontrollable.
In these times I lose track of my present tasks because I start thinking about everything else. I sleep more in hopes of tuning out the stress. I tend to eat only as fuel and no longer for enjoyment. I don’t make time for telephone calls or dates with those I love. (i.e. everything opposite of mindful).
My focus is no longer in the present pleasantries of life, but in the worries of the future and unknown.
TIMES Magazine’s special edition Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness was a reminder to shift my energy to enjoy life and move away from getting caught up in the yet-to-be’s.
Reading through this, I realized that my life absent of mindfulness meant looking for external satisfaction and happiness. This magazine (and all mindfulness practices) is full of ideas to help you turn inward for peace. Simply unplugging from social media or only checking twice a day has been very important to me! The more time I spend on social media, the more distracted I am by the lives of others and think “I wish that was me!” Except spending so much time looking elsewhere for satisfaction, I have missed out on my own life!
Another practice that TIME Magazine’s Mindfulness issue discusses is gratitude. This practice ebbs and flows in my own life. Several practices I just forget about! The only way I remember to be mindful and add practices to my daily routine is having reminders. I keep a little notebook next to my bed and each morning and night I am reminded to write down what I am grateful for. Most entries hold gratitude for the world, others and myself. I have found this to be a grounding way to start and end my day.
Weaving mindfulness into my days makes life more livable! It helps me to look internally for peace and focus less on external satisfaction and approval. It also helps me to worry less about the anxieties of life.
Life will happen anyway and I don’t want to miss it!
Some great ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day:
Yoga/meditation is a great way to connect with your body and focus on your breathing
Intuitively and mindfully eating: By this I mean enjoying a meal undistracted so that you can enjoy and experience every bite!
Mindfully wash your hands: We do this numerous times a day and is a nice way to come back to the present. Focus on this task using all of your senses (the sound of the water hitting the sink, the smell of the soap, the temperature of the water, the softness of your hands, the beauty in the lather of soap and bubbles, etc.).
Other great mindfulness resources that I recommend
Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map is an amazing way to guide yourself inwards and learn to re-discover your intuition. I love this book because as I work with it, I get to spend quality time focusing on my desires and presence in the world.
Your own pen to paper or fingers to keys journaling