Making mindfulness a habit
It is important to try and make time for the things that matter to us. Spending time with our loved ones, enjoying a meal together, allowing ourselves the luxury of sitting quietly savouring our surroundings, reading a book or getting creative. At times these things may all feel like distant memories.
These days we are constantly on the go and there never seem to be enough hours in the day - we often feel as though we are on a rollercoaster. Our busy lifestyles naturally bring about many challenges. Those feelings of anxiety, depression and stress may be stealing our well-being and impacting negatively on our health. This is why we should make the effort to slow down to regain some balance and control in our lives.
One way of doing this is through practising mindfulness, equipping ourselves with coping strategies to once again live our lives to the fullest and find happiness and meaning. However, this is easier said than done.
Living a more mindful life needs to become a habit - here are some habits you can adopt to be more mindful:
- Start your day in the right frame of mind. Sit somewhere quiet where you feel comfortable, can gather your thoughts and think about your day ahead. Make a list of the things you are thankful for. Do some breathing exercises, listen to calming music, meditate, do yoga - these are all beneficial for reducing stress levels and making you feel more relaxed.
- Get moving. Light exercise, taking a stroll around the neighbourhood. Apply your senses and take in your surroundings - feel the sunshine on your skin, smell the grass, the flowers, listen to the sounds - simply connect with the moment. Maybe your passion is cycling, tennis or basketball - spending time engaged in something you truly enjoy can help you carry mindfulness into other areas of your life.
- Practice slow living. This means planting a vegetable garden, preparing a meal from scratch, sitting down and savouring the different flavours, allowing yourself the time to appreciate the food. Not only is this better for one’s digestion, but it makes eating an enjoyable experience. And yes, set the table, use your best dinner plates, make mealtimes a special occasion and most importantly, put away the smartphone, switch off the television and be mindful of the moment.
- You don’t have to be a superwoman or superman. Multitasking may impress some people, but research has shown that focusing on one task at a time improves your performance, leaving you more relaxed. And you will probably make fewer mistakes, thus spending less time completing tasks.
- Allow yourself to feel. We would all like to feel happy and content at all times, however, this is not always possible. Be mindful of how you react to your feelings, acknowledge them and allow yourself to feel sad, angry, disappointed or joyful.
- Be creative. Spending time doing something you enjoy - whether it is a creative hobby, drawing, photography, colouring, sewing or painting the fence - can contribute to mindfulness. Remember, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.
Increasing one’s mindfulness differs from person to person. Find what works for you - those things that give meaning and joy - live in the moment and gain new control over your life.
Disclaimer: The content of this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. References available on request.