There is an all out competition for your attention at any given moment of every single day. As you’re reading this article, you might also be listening to music, someone might be calling your name, or there’s some attention-grabbing event happening in your environment. Our focus and attention are precious and yet far too often, we approach tasks or activities only partially in the game.
Practicing mindfulness has benefits that extend beyond the singular moment, things like improved focus, less stress, better memory, and less emotional reactivity, to name a few. Being mindful while you do anything is not as hard as it seems is follow these few simple ideas:
Pay attention. You can’t be mindful if you are multitasking. Mindfulness requires full attention to the task at hand. That means turning off your notifications, putting your phone on silent, perhaps even closing your eyes, depending on your attention skills and your external environment.
Watch yourself breathe. Whatever the task is, paying attention to your breath will fast track the process of tuning in. If you pay attention in your workout, you’ll be more mindful of your movements. If you tune in to how you’re breathing while you are drafting a very uncomfortable email, you’ll probably be more sensitive to the words you are actually putting on paper. Simply watching the breath for few moments will help you be mindful no matter the task.
Notice your surroundings. Paying attention is not just an internal activity – pay attention to what’s happening outside your body too. This includes the sunshine on your skin if you’re outside. Or the movement of air through the room and how that feels across your bare skin. Can you feel the breath moving in and out of your nose across your upper lip? Can you feel your skin sliding underneath your shirt as you beathe in and out? Notice how your external body is interacting with the environment and it will help you to be more mindful in the moment.
Know that mindfulness is not just limited to the gym or your yoga mat – try being mindful the next time you’re in line at the grocery store, sitting at a stop light, going through security at the airport, or on a walk with your dog or family. There are so many opportunities to be mindful which will help to train your brain to focus on one task at a time. Focus and attention are a skill that needs to be practiced, so why not practice it throughout your day?
What activity will you practice mindfulness with today? Give it a try and see how you can be more mindful in all of your activities and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
- What are the benefits of mindfulness: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx
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