5 Tips for Becoming More Mindful

breathe mediatation mediate mindfulness relax silence Mar 01, 2024
mindfulness, mediation

At any given moment you have hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of information coming at you hard and fast. In many ways, mindfulness is like a bad joke - on one hand you’re supposed to pay attention to every news story and social media post on the other you are supposed to quiet your mind and be serene. Seriously? You can’t win.

 Grabbing the reins of your attention is shockingly hard for most of us. For some baffling reason, we prefer to focus on things that don’t serve to calm our minds rather than those that do. Since like things attract like things, what we focus on becomes our mind’s point of attraction. If you focus on internet trolling you are going to be pissed off for the day. If you focus on how great things are you are going to be happier. At its core, mindfulness is being aware of what you are choosing to focus your attention on and also, keeping it focused on the now.

Here are five tips for becoming more mindful:

  1. Meditate. Every culture and population has promoted mediation. How do you meditate? Simple. Clear your mind. Yeah, I know it is not so simple. I’ve meditated for years and struggle with it daily. There are free guided meditations on Youtube that will help you get started but ultimately, you want to sit quietly for 15 minutes (without falling asleep) and allow the inner part of you to come to the surface.

  2. Relax your body. Close your eyes and relax your body muscle by muscle. If you can get your body quiet it is easier to get your mind quiet. Start by releasing the tension in your head and jaw and work your way down through your body breathing relaxation into each part of it. This keeps your mind in a relaxed state and, again, allows you to focus on the now.

  3. Move. While it’s the opposite of relaxing your body, it also works. All martial arts, running, yoga, tai chi, swimming, fishing and other movements have a meditative component to them. The engagement of your proprioceptive system, or your body’s physical sensing system, means it is not competing for attention - for kinesthetic people like athletes this is a big deal because that system likes to be engaged. When it is taken out of the equation, your inner voice finally has a pathway forward.

  4. Breathe. Close your eyes and imagine breathing through your heart in and out. Breath is life. Deep breathing resets your whole body and mind and enables you to be more mindful. Deep breathe for 5 minutes and you will reset everything.

  5. Disconnect and be silent. Turn off your phone, computer, ipad, television - all of it. Close your eyes too and let your wonderful self be in silence. Listen to the silence, chances are you will hear a lot like the air conditioner, traffic, birds. When you occupy your mind this way, it allows the other parts of your mind to rise to the surface. 

I know it seems that all of these assume you are not standing in the subway station in New York City but, believe it or not, you can be mindful there too. In fact, you can be mindful anywhere you put your mind to. 

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