Mindfulness, once an obscure Buddhist concept, is now a popular practice in our modern world. Why because mindfulness has been proven to improve your ability to be aware of how you think, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your working memory. Yet when I recommend the practice to my clients they often complain, “I’m too busy to take time out, be still, and meditate.” In response I encourage them to incorporate the following into their daily life.
Start small. Focus away from your computer, tablet, or phone screen on an object close at hand. Maybe you look out the window at the clouds in the sky or maybe a shadow on your wall. It doesn’t matter use something that is as close to nature as possible. Set a timer for 60 seconds, sit or stand still, and focus on the details of the object. Avoid focusing on the thoughts as enter your mind, just bring your attention back to the object. When a minute passes notice how you feel before returning to your previous activity.
Create a Mindfulness jar. You can buy one on Amazon or make your own. All you need is a clear glass jar, like an empty jar that had pickles or mayonnaise in it. Then fill it with water, dish soap and glitter of glitter glue.
Set a reminder. Use your calendar app, fitness tracker or Apple watch and set a reminder for the same time every day. You can practice the activity previously described or focus on your breath. There are a number of techniques to use when focusing on your breath from counting to breathing in one color and out another. If you’d like the audio I created for an online course on breathing, just ask for it in the comments below and I’ll send it your way.
Take small consistent steps to increase your awareness of the present moment. Many times people avoid starting because they think it has to be for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. Harvard University researchers observed that short sessions of meditation practiced with consistency improved the regions of the brain associated with memory, learning, emotion control, self-awareness and perspective.