More and more of us are finding in this fast-paced 24/7 world we live in that we are going through the motions of life, moving from task to task, checking things off our to-do list, rehashing our past mistakes, and focusing on our future goals and plans; but we aren’t truly LIVING in the moment. But what I’ve come to realize is that being present, in the moment, is the only way to enjoy life to the fullest.
Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. Since that time, I’ve worked hard at being present and living in the moment – practicing mindfulness even when I didn’t know what mindfulness meant. Some days, that’s been easier said than done – because life happens and we all have hard days. Our work can be stressful. The kids can drive us crazy. Our lives can be overwhelming. But learning to live in the moment each day is so important to our emotional well-being and will allow us to be healthier, happier, and more productive both at work and at home.
So what exactly is mindfulness? Mindfulness means being present in the moment – truly present – without distraction, separating yourself from your own thoughts and feelings without judgment. We live in this moment. This exact moment will never happen again. We get lost in our senses – a taste, a smell, a feeling, a touch. We accept our feelings without labeling them as right or wrong in any given moment. We don’t allow our past or our future rob us of our present. Let go of the “what if’s” and “only if’s”. There are 1440 minutes in a day. What are you doing with your 1440 minutes?
There are a myriad of benefits to practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness trains your body to thrive, boosts creativity, reduces stress, increases focus, and improves relationships. And although mindfulness is something we all possess, there is a way to ensure we are practicing mindfulness effectively on a daily basis.
I have found dozens of ways to practice mindfulness over the years, but here are 6 easy, practical things that you can do on a daily basis to practice mindfulness in your own life, whether you are at home or at work.
- Make the Time for YOU Without Guilt
You simply can’t give to others if you have nothing left to give. At times, we are so focused on taking care of everyone and everything else that we simply have nothing left for ourselves. We are depleted, exhausted and maybe even a bit cranky.
Being mindful means finding the time for YOU. Giving yourself the time and space to truly be present.
- Start Your Day Out Right
Breathe, in and out – notice your breathing, the rise and fall of your belly. Exercise. Meditate. Drink water. And THEN check your phone and email. For many of us, we have this backwards. We get up and the first thing we do is check our phones or turn on the news. How we wake up in the morning has a direct impact on the rest of our day.
- Be Patient
Patience is hard to find when our flight has been cancelled and we are waiting in line to find another flight. Patience is hard to find when we are stuck in traffic or – heaven forbid – are in line at the DMW. Many moments in our life are spent waiting for something. While you wait, notice how you feel – are you agitated, angry, annoyed? Are you breathing faster? Are your teeth or fist clenched a bit? What can you do?
- Find Your Flow and Eliminate Distractions
Finding your flow at times may be difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to eliminate distractions. My mind wanders to worries, regrets, or fears. My cell phone rings. Notifications pop up on my phone. I get sucked into Facebook. My multi-tasking abilities start getting in my way. My intentions are good – to truly be present – but my flow is interrupted. We all have dozens of tasks to accomplish on a daily basis. But the reality is that multi-tasking can drain us faster and actually make us less efficient, not more efficient. Although I am a recovering multi-tasker and still have relapses, I have found that batching my tasks and focusing on actually focusing on one task at a time has been a game changer for me and my business and life, making me more focused and productive.
- Practice Gratitude
Gratitude opens the door to peace. It allows you to be truly present and thankful for what you have right now at this moment, not what you think you want or need. It focuses less on stuff and more on what fills our soul. It makes us realize that we have enough. It’s human nature to wish or want better things. But a mindful person accepts things as they are and is grateful no matter what they are facing.
- Connect with Others – Don’t Just Talk, Listen
It’s said that connectedness is the heartbeat of life. In a device-driven world, we have connection, but often it’s with our phones. A key to being mindful is learning to truly connect with others. We must continue to work at staying connected in meaningful ways with all of those in our lives – both at work and at home. Not online. Not through a phone. A real, live conversation where we smile and look them in the eye. Listen to what they are saying. Hear them.
And remember, time is something we can never get back. There is no other TODAY. This exact moment will never happen again. So on the days where you are angry, on the days where the action or inaction of others makes you want to punch someone in the face, on the days where are you are completely stressed and overwhelmed, on the days where you want to turn silly little things into big disagreements with those you love, on the days where you are having a really hard time seeing the positive in the midst of the negative – remember that you are here, in this moment. And it’s up to you on what you make of this moment, of your day, of your life. I am here, standing in this exact moment. The only “this moment” I will ever get. Are you standing in this moment today?
#itsuptoyou #mindfulness #gratitude #maketodaycount
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Kim Becking is a keynote motivational speaker; change, communication and leadership expert; and success coach who helps individuals and organizations create momentum in their work and life to get massive results.