Living in the moment is one of those things that's easier said than done. Personally it's so easy for us to get caught up in life's minutiae; answering an email in the middle of a meeting, scrolling through social media with the TV on in the background, cooking dinner while keeping an eye on our kiddo, the list goes on... Consciously pausing and blocking out time in our day to practice mindfulness has been crucial to preventing burnout.
The great thing is, mindfulness comes in so many different shapes and sizes!
What is mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness is focusing your attention on the current moment without judgment.
On the origin of the word, a practice review from Pennsylvania State University, says “The word mindfulness originally comes from the Pali word sati, which means having awareness, attention, and remembering.”
The benefits of mindfulness
Research shows that mindful meditation can improve anxiety, depression, and pain when practiced over time. According to Harvard Health, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways such as: blood pressure, chronic pain, sleep, and gastrointestinal difficulties.
Finding practices that work for you
Mindfulness is nuanced. What works for a college student is going to look really different than what works for a mom of two. If sitting down for a short meditation session is your thing, we really like this one from Calm. If meditation isn’t really your thing, that’s totally okay! There are tons of other things you can do to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Mindfulness can come in the form of a 5 minute breathing exercise, working on a puzzle, journaling about the day, going for a walk, stopping to smell the roses, or even working – if done right.
- Single-tasking: Focus all of your energy on a single task and try to stay present until you complete it. For instance if you’re washing dishes, focus on the sensation of the water on your hands, the feel of the soapy sponge, the weight of the dish in your hand.
- Mindful movement: This is the epitome of “dance like nobody’s watching”. Put some music on and let your body move to the tempo without judging your movements.
- Doodling: Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and doodle whatever comes to mind without worrying about what it will look like or erasing anything.
Living in the moment
The great thing about mindfulness is it doesn’t cost a thing. And finding your favorite mindful activity is a lot like finding a better booch... sometimes you have to try a handful until you find the one that actually works for you – but when you do, it's worth it.