Mindfulness is on the rise! It’s the darling of mental health improvement, lately. It reduces stress, improves focus, boosts mood, and improves performance.
But what if you don’t want to sit and meditate? Does that HAVE to be part of it?
You can “do mindfulness” right inside your current life and the only thing you change is HOW you do your life.
Step One: Decide WHAT you what to do mindfully.
What activity do you want to bring your full awareness to so that you can be more present with it?
Some traditional mindful modalities other than meditation are:
But you can go rogue (and still reap benefits!) and choose:
- Playing cars with your son
- Reading People magazine
- Sitting on a patio with a frappuccino
- Organizing your closet
Step Two: Declare a Focus Zone.
When will this activity start and when will it finish? It needs to have a start and stop time and you’ll practice inside those times.
Yeah, yeah. You could just try to be mindful all the dang time and we’re all rootin’ for ya if you go that route.
But a set time period allows you to try hard within a zone and then relax outside of it. It’s a zone built for improving this one skill. You can still sprinkle mindful efforts throughout the day if you like.
I set an oven timer to play with my son, sometimes. (Not a joke!) It takes effort to focus on the personality of all those dinky cars and the narrative unfolding. It takes willpower not to check my phone or sweep the house for things to put away instead of playing cars.
Step Three: Disarm known invaders.
Block out any distractions that would usually occur.
Turn off your notifications. Put your phone on silent and put it in another room. Close the office door.
Your practice requires less effort if you get ahead of the distractions before they crop up.
Step Four: Bring your attention to the “task” at hand. Over and over again.
This is precisely what’s happening when you meditate. You notice when you’re distracted and bring your attention back to what you’re doing.
You’ll get distracted by everything. This is normal. You’ll naturally want to :
- Go online to see if that eaves-cleaning discount is still on
- Reminisce about the wild time when you crashed stag night in Vegas
- Practice a snarky retort to the office nasty the next time she puts you on the spot
- Plan the seating chart for the baby shower you’re hosting in 5 months
And you’ll get feelings too. Which will spark more thoughts.
It’s a thought parade!
Your one job is to bring your attention back to that frappuccino. Or that game of cars.
Step Five: Be gentle with yourself.
Your Inner Critic will point out how much you suck at this. That Critic’s cousin will point out how much time you’re wasting.
Don’t give them airtime.
This is a practice. It takes effort over time. And you’ll get better!
And as you do, you’ll reap the benefits of more calm, clarity, and ninja-level focus.
How will you do mindfulness? Choose an activity to try mindfully and declare it in the comments below!
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