A lot of us are career busy-bodies, swept up with our family's needs, students racing to complete assignments, or entrepreneurs. As spiritual individuals, we often need to stretch beyond traditional time management to include a strong foundation of mindfulness in our own lives. Doing so takes some careful examination of how we could increase awareness without adding time to our already full schedules. Here are some of the ways to foster a regular routine of mindfulness, even with minimal minutes to spare. Give them a try, the results are amazing!
- Take at least five minutes of lunch break to eat without any distractions. When we put our phones down, turn off our computer screens, and simply sit with our food, we'll experience lunch in a new way. We can then taste in an exciting way once we give ourselves the space to fully feel what it’s like to eat. Instead of shoving that food down our throats, for at least five minutes, let's pay attention to the tastes, textures, sounds, sights, and sensations of eating.
- Let's bring a regular awareness to the act of brushing our teeth. This is (hopefully) something we do each day, so it won’t add a second of time to our busy schedules if we mindfully experience this routine of dental hygiene. Just like conscious eating, let's pay attention to the sensations and sounds—the full experience of brushing our teeth is actually quite engaging. Becoming absorbed in the moment of this traditionally mundane task transforms the experience. It will take on a new dimension and help to increase our overall sense of mindfulness. There's also a way to try this while showering.
- We can give ourselves permission to experience emotions when they arise. Coworker cause some anger? Disappointed about something at home? Instead of drowning out these feelings with more work, let's pause for thirty seconds and feel the emotions. No need to act on them, just feel. Where is the tension in our bodies? How do our minds keep trying to escape the feeling? Thirty seconds isn’t much to ask for and we’ll deepen our personal emotional intimacy with this tiny act of awareness.
- Pay attention to the light around in the world. Light is a magical thing, casting so much beauty in our every day lives. How beautiful a car’s headlights cast on a tree branch look? Or the sun peaking through the tiny slits in the blinds? Even artificial light can be wondrous to observe, but first we have to pay attention. At least for today, we can keep our eyes open.
- When next talking with someone, pay full attention to the conversation. We can ask our thoughts to step aside and allow us to engage completely with the other individual. Pay attention to their eyes, facial expressions, and what they are saying. Follow the advice of taking a couple seconds before responding, ensuring that we were fully listening. Most of us listen to respond, we don’t listen just to hear. Start to change this and marvel as all relationships deepen and focus increases!
- The digital age has caused many great technological advancements, but it’s also detracted us from living mindful lives. The next time we're waiting for something and we want to pull out our phones to mindlessly scroll through a feed, let's pause and resist the urge. If we give ourselves at least one minute to just breathe, observe the sounds around us, and relax into what it feels like to be waiting, we can foster mindfulness. Waiting isn’t as dreaded and dull of an experience as we might think. The world around us is often more engaging than the flow of digital news.
Mindfulness doesn’t require a lot of us, just a few moments of awareness that will quickly grow into a deeper love for the world around us. Once we have these six tools, it’s up to us to use them and witness the profound impact even the smallest changes can make. Most ask for mere moments of our time and can really enhance our experience of life. Some of us are unable to start a regular routine right away, so in that case, let's pick at least one of these ideas and try it for a week. Most likely, it will be positive and enriching!
Arien Smith is a mindfulness coach and Reiki practitioner who is dedicated to showing others how to create conscious lifestyles through his business, We Are All Sacred Beings. He is also an activist and survivor and has used his experiences to holistically heal others. If you'd like to reach him, head to www.weareallsacredbeings.com.