Updated: May 7, 2022
I am sitting here, on an old sofa, in my balcony, being aware of the open sky, the chirping of the birds, smelling the air, breathing. Breathing and I am writing this for you with my laptop on my lap. This cup of coffee lying on the table looks heavenly, but it's too hot right now. People at the backside, talking about something, which I need not bother about.
This is the 2nd Part of the Mindfulness Article Series. Part 1 was about ''Why be mindful?'' So, If you haven't read the first part, please have a look.
One of my friends, after reading part 1 of this mindfulness series, asked me,
Ohh! Mindfulness means meditation, right?
Well, If you can call Conscious eating, conscious brushing your teeth, Conscious bathing, etc meditation, then Okay.
But to be honest, there is a slight difference. Mindfulness is more like a way of living, whereas meditation can or cannot be a preparation ground for mindfulness. We can begin with meditation so that we practice being in the here and now, but it necessarily does not have to be that way. Mindfulness can be practiced just wherever you are. At any time.
Many people say I can't sit for hours to meditate, not even minutes. How do I progress in being more aware? Yeah, there's the answer. Just whatever you do, BE AWARE.
In this article, I am going to share about, how to be more mindful, how you can start following it and what are the techniques I personally use as a part of my daily life.
So, here we go!!
1) Start with 1-minute mindfulness.
What happens when we have never done a diet in our lives and suddenly one day we start living on salads? Just after a few hours or days or maybe a week (depending on our determination), We start eating double.
When we want to build a habit, it's always a better idea to start with the baby steps and make progress. So that the habit sticks. Our mind only resists to something which demands us to break our old habit patterns. Our old habit pattern of mind is that it seeks simulation, hours of being engaged in some or the other work, doesn't make us feel uncomfortable, but just a minute of silence doing nothing scares us!
So, rather than directly jumping to hours, it’s always a better idea to start small and be consistent. Set a daily reminder/alarm or keep any kind of trigger that reminds you of bring mindful at the moment, wherever the trigger hits or timer beeps, just try being completely aware for a minute. Take a few deep breathes and then continue your work.
Gradually and slowly, increase your time to two minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, so on and so forth.
2) Practice conscious eating.
We have a habit of watching TV, our cell phones or being engaged in some or the other activity while we eat. And suppose someday our phone has a low battery, we give the job of keeping our mind busy to our continuous thoughts.
Thinking is not a problem; thinking is a great tool. But if thinking makes you completely unaware of what you are eating, then I guess it definitely should be kept aside until you enjoy your meals.
Conscious eating has many benefits,
You are aware of what you are eating, how much you are eating and how the food actually tastes.
Being aware of it, you consciously know what your body needs. So, there are fewer chances that intentionally you will feed yourself something which is not good for your body. Maybe, a few times. But your guilt will make you eat much lesser junk than ever.
You'll do way lesser binge eating and consume lower calories.
You get to know your body and health better.
You chew comparatively more, which can make your food easy to digest. There are more chances that you slowly start losing weight.
You will eat when you actually feel hungry, not just to fill in the time gaps.
You will spend less time thinking about food.
3) Start practicing mindfulness with your routine activities.
You can choose 2-3 activities in the beginning which you think are fun for you, or are your priorities or you love doing the most like,
Spending time with your family or Spouse.
Spending time with your pets.
Playing any kind of indoor/outdoor games.
Reading or writing, and there's a long list.
So, suppose, you are sitting with your spouse talking about something, try to give him/her your utmost undivided attention. Every time, your mind thinks of something else, try to bring the awareness back and engage fully in the conversation.
This will make your relationship a lot better. You can take this as a RELATIONSHIP as well.
The same with your other routine activities, whenever your attention diverts, very calmly, without being agitated, simply bring it back to the activity you were doing. ENJOY doing it fully.
While cooking, smell the aroma, rather than checking your phone again and again.
Oops!! My COFFEE!! :P
4) Take out some time for phone detox.
Our cellphones are our greatest friends and our worst enemies these days. We have become so habitual to looking at our phone, that sometimes we forget, what we were scrolling it for.
It becomes our muscle memory. Pick up the phone. Search for something. Keep scrolling. That's the level of unconscious activity we can do these days. We are even becoming more of a phone addict than smoking. I have seen chain smokers smoking at some intervals, but ask them to keep their phone aside. They'll start jumping.
Our cellphones are making us more distraction prone than anything else. But through practicing mindfulness, we can start developing a habit of consciously choosing,
What you want to do with your phone and
How you are going to use it.
So, the idea is to become a master. Use it for your own good and not let it use you.
Set an alarm. Place your phone aside or simply give it to your mom for an hour! Soon in a few days, you'll realize, your productivity grows tremendously.
5) Try doing one thing at a time.
I mentioned in the earlier blog, about the habit of multi-tasking. How shifting steadily to one thing at a time, made me a more productive person.
Multi-tasking is really not a skill to have. Don't trust me? Try yourself for a few weeks doing just one thing at a time.
Multitasking drains us. It sucks our energy because it's not a normal human feature god added. We boasted it as an idea. We grew it over time.
Try to choose a few tasks every day which you do without much distraction. The distraction will happen but try bringing your attention back to whatever you are doing very calmly, acknowledging your urges and thoughts. Not judging them, being aware of them. And let go of them very calmly.
Remind yourself, this time is for this task, and after this, I'll give time to whatever is coming in my head.
6) Dedicate some time for your mind to wander.
Reward yourself with some time for thinking. It can be half & hour, let your thoughts move wherever they want to,
Just witness them, just observe. Observe the feeling you are getting. Observe the sensations.
Keep it in mind, after I am done thinking for the decided period of time. I will shift back to want to do next, leaving all the thoughts where they were.
7) Watch your thoughts.
This is something that needs a lot of practice. But if you can slowly inculcate this habit in your life. It will turn out to be miraculous.
By watching your thoughts, you will realize, how much time you spend thinking about the past or the future or you do negative self-talk and overthink about something which you can't change or you overthink about things which have not even arrived or which may not arrive as well.
Practice can help you go deeper into the root cause of your problems.
Many great souls have said in the past,
Your thoughts create your reality!!!
But I would like to make an addition that more than your thoughts,
How you vibrate creates your Reality!!
Even if you consciously practice visualization, the law of attraction or whatnot, If your subconscious disregards how you feel about it, it won't happen.
This habit of watching your thoughts, with practice you to reach your subconscious, and ultimately, the core of how you actually feel about it.
That's why, Whenever you get a trigger, watch your thoughts too!!
8) Declutter your mind
This point is in continuity to the above point.
Heyy!! Slow down a bit! Just a second!
Were you just thinking of some stupid thing a friend called you almost 5 years back? Or how would some random couple you yesterday saw must be living there lives?
It can get as stupid as this. Many times your mind would be even thinking of things which are currently completely irrelevant for your life or maybe things which you can do anything about.
By decluttering your mind, I mean to say here, while observing your thoughts, when you realize that a thought is completely irrelevant for your life and it REPETITIVE and you just can't get rid of it.
Try giving attention to that thought, STOP! and Imagine dropping it in a dustbin! or you can imagine flushing it to whatever.
Just observe, and try to let go of that thought.
9) Mindful walking
Well, If you read about meditation, you will find this as one of the types of meditation techniques followed.
So, call it meditation or mindfulness, whatever you like.
But I am only covering here how I do it because its a blog on its own.
a) Keep it slow. Else you won't be able to feel the sensations of your legs.
b) If you can't feel the sensations, just be aware of walking, your breath, the environment, people around, the air, the smell in the air and if you are getting thoughts, then your thoughts too.
c) Don't judge your thoughts. Just acknowledge them and let them flow.
d) Although, this can be done anywhere, try to find a place to walk which is less crowded and has some more greenery and fresh air.
Try it once in a while. It's calming. :)
10) Add meditation to your daily life.
Meditation, as I wrote earlier, can be the best preparation ground for beginning your journey of mindfulness. Meditation is a language of mindfulness. It eliminates the chaos inside, very beautifully. Making us a more moral and wiser person, increasing our concentration & and purifying our soul.
There are many types of meditation techniques, and which one should I start with?
Well, different people resonate with different types of meditation techniques, it not necessary that one should follow any certain type of meditation only.
It's recommended that you try a few, explore the field, try and test, acquire some knowledge and choose with your experience what works for you.
I started with Transcendental meditation also known as Mantra meditation as a kid. To be really honest, It didn't work for me. I wasn't influenced by the idea of chanting a mantra, of which I don't even know the meaning and just concentrate my mind on it.
I said NO. After that, I read and tried and tested a lot of meditation techniques on me, before I choose one to stick to.
You can start with ''MINDFUL BREATHING'' MEDITATION.
Close your eyes. Be aware of your breath. Don't try to change or manipulate it. Just be aware of your breath. It's cold when it goes inside, and hot when it comes out. Where all it touches your skin. Which nostril is more open and which is closed.
Just be aware. Whenever your attention diverts, don't feel irritated. It's completely normal. Just acknowledge that your mind wandered and calmly bring it back to the breath.
Be calm and clear. Be Alert and attentive. Be Balanced and Equanimous.
You can begin with just 15 minutes a day. :)
POINTS TO REMEMBER
You don't have to get it all at once. Inspire yourself to explore the field of mind and matter. Find out ways that would work for you. I don't necessarily have to be the above ones. You can read and try it your own way.
Whenever your mind wanders, very calmly, lovingly, with no judgments, bring it back, to what you are doing.
DON'T RUN FOR MORE. Let it flow. Do it at your pace. :)
Like anything, it requires PRACTICE.