“It is what it is” said Mindfulness.

Mindfulness, the mental state of being conscious and aware has gained a lot of traction in the past decade. Mindfulness has proven to reduce stress and increase overall life satisfaction. The psychological state of being mindful creates a greater self-awareness and keeps you present. Being present, an easy enough concept is harder than ever with the bombardment of technological influences and distractions.

Life is only promised in the present moment.

Letting go of worries and fear can be freeing, and focusing on what is can be empowering. When one is being mindful they are accepting what is occurring without being overwhelmed by it. Both science and experience have shown that when one brings mindfulness into their everyday existence, overall well-being improves. MRI scans have shown that recurring mindful practices lead to a shrink in the amygdala, also known as our “fight or flight” response system. This part of the brain controls our responses to stress, anxiety, and emotion. So at this point, you may be open to the idea of mindfulness, but how do you do it? It’s a lot easier than you think. Here are some tips to get you started:

Mindfulness Practice #1: Pay attention to your morning routine.

Mindfulness is all about bringing awareness to what you are doing. By starting in the morning, you are likely to set the tone for the rest of the day. This may include noticing the way you brush your teeth, how your fingers feel against your face as you cleanse or how your feet feel going down the stairs into the kitchen. By slowing down and self-reflecting, you, my friend, are being mindful.

Mindfulness Practice #2: Focus on an object.

Mindfulness is not meant to be complicated however it does take practice. As our minds are complex and our attention span short, our thoughts often wander into something different than the starting point. Mindfulness is about accepting the thought and recognizing you are wandering without judgment. It may be helpful to look at a painting or the flame of a candle, something tangible to help you learn how to focus and redirect yourself when you begin to wander.

Mindfulness Practice #3: Pause before responding.

One of the best gifts you can give to another person is being a mindful listener. Instead of listening to respond, try listening and reflecting back what you heard. Not only are you being truly mindful of what the other person has said - you are ensuring you heard them correctly and giving them an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings. This pause goes a long way in mastering effective communication skills.

Mindfulness Practice #4: Take a “senses” walk.

Connecting with your senses - touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound are an easy way to practice being present. As you take a stroll, use your five senses to connect with your environment. Using your senses makes it easier to notice what is going on around you.

Mindfulness Practice #5: Have some key mantras or intentions.

Repetition is a way of learning quickly as the brain has less work to do when information is readily available. By repeating some mantras or intentions that are catered to your wants and needs, mindfulness is positively set up to occur. For example, you may decide that every time you see a mirror, you are going to repeat, “I am kind in my words and actions.” Keeping your intentions at the forefront of your day aligns with the laws of attraction.

I hope by now you have visualized ways to be mindful in everyday life. Creating time and energy to be mindful will be the first steps.

In essence, one has to be mindful of being mindful.

After some time, it should become more natural––you will know this when you start to feel lighter and have a stronger sense of calm in our chaotic world.

Contributed by:

Annu Dha, MA

Registered Clinical Counsellor