My mind is something like a beehive. It is consistently buzzing with ideas, an ever growing to do list, and random food related daydreams. Despite the amazing creativity that comes along with having an idea-mill for a brain, it can be distracting, a little stressful, and difficult to turn off.
Have you ever been unable to turn your brain off before bed at night? Or find your thoughts wandering during conversations and you miss chunks of information? This used to be my brain 24/7 until I began to practice mindfulness. When you are unable to concentrate enjoy or fully experience things; it is a clear indicator that you may not be living in the present.
[bctt tweet=”Mindfulness is being present and aware of your thoughts and actions in the present moment without judgment.” username=”marjanialadin”]
Learning to ‘be’ and ‘exist’ within a moment without the distraction and limitations our minds create, is a beautifully freeing experience.
Implementing mindfulness into every area of our lives is possible. It is one of the most powerful tools to increasing joy and gratitude in your life. This statement is true for both the physical and emotional areas of our life.
I had a recent experience that was a great reminder to remain mindful and release my own judgments in the moment of an experience. If you follow me on Instagram I recently shared my day on the Atlanta Beltline on my Insta –Stories. I took a spontaneous trip downtown, rented a bike from Atlanta Beltline Bicycles, and put my R+B playlist to work.
Confession: Due to the fact that I have not gone biking riding in years I already had a preconceived notion that I was not in the shape required to ride to the end and back without having to walk the bike back. Yes, I had already mentally counted myself out – super negative I know. But needless to say, I was not deterred but more inspired to enjoy the ride without trying to challenge myself or expect too much.
5 minutes into my ride I began to realize how beautiful everything was around me. How the sun felt against my face and the wind across my skin. I could feel my heart beating as I rode and felt my muscles pushing the pedals with each stride.
Like a child again, I felt amazing. I felt free. I thought of nothing. I just was.
I did not think of anything except how serene this experience was.
6 miles later – yes six !! – I still can’t believe that – I was back at the bike shop with out a break, not overly exhausted and with a very clear head. I felt light.
Being present and mindful in the act of riding that bike allowed me to unconsciously push past the limitations I put on myself with my own thoughts. Acting without expectation and judgment helped me surpass what I thought I could do without stress.
Everyone wants to live a more peaceful, joyous life but sometimes knowing where to start is difficult. Start living mindfully with these 4 exercises.
Try mindful breathing for 10 minutes a day. This practice involves focus on your breath. Slowly Inhale. Slowly Exhale. Clearing your mind of all thoughts and narrowing your attention to the act of breathing is calming and challenges you to become in tune with your physical body.
Notice how your chest expands and contracts or how air feels filling your lungs. Remember, its okay if your thoughts happen to wander to your to do list or what you want for dinner. Do not approach the thought with criticism or judgment simply return your focus back to the experience and act of breathing slowly.
Being present while in conversation with others truly deepens the relationships and interactions that we have.
Be mindful of your conversation partner(s). What are they saying? Does their face emote to be happy or sad? If your mind is wandering or preparing a rebuttal while others are talking, you are not being present in the conversation. Allow people to speak to you and absorb the information without creating judgment or opinion. Try to think of statements as just that, not things that can be taken personally or assigned labels of right, wrong, good or bad.
Listening fully is a part of mindful conversation ,so be intentional in the way that you listen and pay attention.
This may be one of my favorite mindfulness techniques because I am a major foodie. So if you enjoy food, this may be for you. And if you are not that much of a foodie, maybe you will be after this exercise.
Being present while eating is often last on the list for us moving millennials. We are the “eat on the go “ generation. What ever is fast and easy is what usually wins the food wars for us. Sometimes it can lead to unhealthy food choices (hamburgers are more mobile than salads when in a rush) but it also strips the food eating experience away from us. This can lead to eating disorders, bad eating habits, and food guilt. Mindful eating can be fun. Pretend you are a food critic and sit in a quiet room with your food. Take a bite and enjoy the flavor. Examine the texture and how the food makes you feel.
Slowing down to appreciate your food elevates your eating experience and leads to over all better eating habits.
My personal experience with physical mindfulness involved a bike but you can apply the same techniques of controlled intentional breathing, observation, and relaxation into an everyday activity such as walking.
Be aware of how your body feels, how your arms may sway as you move or how your feet feel touching the ground.
Physical mindfulness requires and allows you to be active and moving while still intentionally conscious of the experience of being and doing. This is a great alternative to meditation for beginners who are having trouble sitting still and quiet for 15 minutes.
[bctt tweet=”Mindfulness takes practice and time.” username=”marjanialadin”]
Practice exercising mindful living for 10-15 minutes a day to see a decrease in stress, anxiety while experiencing an increase in your focus, joy, and awareness. The difference in the way we interact with others and carry ourselves has much to do with being present and appreciating the time we have right now. Explore the steps listed above and experience the joy of mindful living.
Do you practice mindfulness in your daily life? What are your favorite practices to stay present? Drop your comments below !