Mindful living means to live in the present moment without judging yourself or others. Most of us run from from one thing to the next, are stressed out and living on autopilot and mindful living doesn’t come naturally to busy women.
Did you ever hear the expression “Keep your head where your feet are?” How often do you find yourself attending to one task while your mind is elsewhere? This might look like doing the dishes while thinking about the argument you had with your friend three weeks ago.
Continuously reliving the past makes it hard to stay in the now and will lead to you carrying around anger, resentment and other unpleasant emotions.
Accept People and Life As They Are
When we’re living on autopilot, it’s all too easy to react emotionally to difficult situations. For example, you might see a disturbing story on the news. You feel agitated and sad. But instead of reaching for something to distract yourself, you stay in the moment. You acknowledge your emotions without judgement. This one little thing frees you from losing a day of productivity because you were obsessing on this one news item.
Mindful Living Helps You To Be Grateful
During unenjoyable moments, like while you’re cleaning your home or doing tedious client work, it’s very tempting to let your mind wander. But when you’re living mindfully, you’re intentionally staying in the moment, even if that situation is uncomfortable.
If you’re in the middle of a task that you don’t find pleasant, don’t give into negative feelings or griping. Look for something to be thankful for! For example, you might say to yourself that you’re grateful you have a house to clean, or that you have enough clients to pay for your monthly bills.
Mindful Living Helps to Improve Your Mood
Mindful living is a great way to naturally improve your mood. Many times, anxiety is the result of worrying about the future and sadness comes from dwelling on the past. Mindfulness helps to improve your mood because it forces you to stop overthinking everything.
There’s nothing you can do to change your past, you have to accept what’s happened in your life and move forward in a positive direction. But if you find that you’re often haunted by people or situations from your past, it’s a good idea to speak to a trained counselor who can help you to work through things and move on.
How Can I Practice Mindful Living?
Mindful living takes some intention and effort. It doesn’t come naturally to most of us. But when we live with intention, we’re not sleepwalking through life. We’re fully present in every situation that the day presents to us.
If the concept of mindful living is challenging to you, be encouraged that you can do this. Here’s a few exercises to get you started.
Eat and Drink Slowly
What’s the first drink you reach for in the morning? Maybe it’s coffee, tea, or a refreshing smoothie. Before you take that first sip of the day, take a mindful pause. Literally, stop and smell your coffee (or tea!)
What does your drink smell like? Taste it. What is the temperature like? What flavors do you taste against your tongue? Then notice how your cup feels in your hand as you take another sip. Swallow slowly and savor your drink.
Similarly, eating mindfully means to slow down, express gratitude for the food you’re eating and paying attention to why you’re really eating. Is it because you’re actually hungry, or is it because you’re stressed out?
Go outside for a walk in nature
Notice the air temperature, the breeze on your skin and in your hear. Do you hear any birds singing? Do you know what kind of birds they are? Do you see any flowers? What thoughts are coming up now? How do they make you feel? As you walk, take some time to fully notice the environment around you.
You might want to bring a camera and a notebook. Take pictures of items that are of interest. Write down what made them stand out toyou. Is it the color or the texture that attracted your attention? Did you notice a shape or pattern? Was there a sound or smell that attracted you to this item?
Listen to music
Sit in your most comfortable chair and play some background music that relaxes you. Classical music is a good choice. You can also look for meditative music on YouTube or Spotify.
As you’re listening, focus on your breath. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Take deep belly breaths. Allow your thoughts to come and go without trying to hold too tightly to them. Examine each thought like an observer.
Pay attention to how your body may be going into resistance, by starting to fidget or your mind beginning to wander. Return to your breath if this happens.Notice how the thoughts and experiences that come up influence how you feel.
Benefits of Mindful Coloring
Choose a coloring page that’s fun and inspires you. How do the colors you have chosen make you feel? What does it feel like when you move the pen, marker or pencil over paper? What thoughts are coming up for you? How are these thoughts affecting you? You might want to journal some of these emotions. You might want to alternate between coloring and journaling if it helps you.
It’s perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable the first few times that you try to practice being mindful. Think of mindfulness as a new habit that you’re trying to develop, and that will take some time. Keep doing exercises like the ones above regularly and you will eventually become comfortable with the concept of living mindfully.
Mindful living is one simple way to improve your life. Try to spend a week focused on mindful living and see how your thoughts and outlook change.