Do you feel as though you go through the motions of your day without noticing what is happening around you? Does your brain feel as though it has been set on auto-pilot? When was the last time you felt an inner peace just by strolling through a crowded department store? Here are 3 quick and easy ways to help yourself live in the present, and experience the joy or total mindfulness.
It might sound impossible, but if you live in the present, and remain aware of your surroundings throughout the day, even seemingly annoying experiences become opportunities to live in complete mindfulness.
1. Start taking notice of everything that surrounds you
Take in everything that is happening around you. Yes, everything. Take a minute or two to look around, and pay attention to what is happening. Don’t just watch what is happening – truly make an effort to experience your current surroundings. For example, let’s say you are in a crowded department store. Take a few minutes to notice how the lights reflect off of various surfaces, listening to the sounds of the displays or registers, inhale the scent of beauty care products, or listen to the chatter of your fellow humans. Is it warm or cool? What does the floor sound like beneath your feet? Is there any music playing? What colors are you currently surrounded by as you stroll through the department store? Don’t just rush through the store, experience everything it has to offer. Will everything always be enjoyable? Not at all. However, noticing everything is part of learning to experience what is around you. It is what will keep you present and living in the now.
2. Take another step towards your mindfulness journey. Take apart what is in front of you
Noticing things is great to do several times daily, as it will help you practice mindfulness. Now take it to the next level – take apart what you see. Going back to the department store experience, find something, or someone, on which to focus. Look at a sweater, for example, and observe all of his qualities separately. What do you think the fabric feels like? Do you think it is soft or scratchy? Is it thin or thick in your hands? Do you think it has a scent? You can also observe the separate qualities of people who pass by (discretely, of course), taking in each of their unique qualities as they shop. At this point, you are, essentially, taking your mindfulness technique to a deeper level of understanding.
3. Be still
Not easy for naturally energetic folks, but it is a key element to learning to be mindful, and live in the present. Mindfulness is easiest to achieve when your brain is uncluttered, and you are able to be still. No, this doesn’t mean twisting yourself up in a complicated Yoga pose! It means taking a few minutes to really focus on your breath. Imagine the cleansing breaths spreading throughout your body as you inhale. Now imagine that you are exhaling away stress, negativity, and anger. Watch your stomach rise and fall with each breath, or close your eyes and let your mind go still and blank. You can also achieve stillness through prayer or meditation, boosting your spirituality as you remain still and present. If your thoughts tend to stray or you get distracted, practice gently pulling them back into focus. If it helps, find a physical object in your home that you can focus on while you practice stillness. Have a favorite lamp? Focus on that lamp for a few minutes every day, being as still as possible while you focus. During your time of stillness, nothing else should matter – everything else melts away for a few minutes.
By putting these 3 techniques to good use over the next few weeks, you too can start to achieve the inner peace and mindfulness that comes with living in the present. Enjoy!