One of the things that I mention frequently as a something that can help us to maintain balance and achieve alignment with what we want in life is the practice of mindfulness. But have you ever wondered how to be more mindful in your own life?
Mindfulness can help with everything from decreasing anxiety and stress, to helping you find clarity with respect to your direction in life. Finding ways to be mindful within everyday life is sometimes challenging, however. Today I have three simple techniques that you can use to help you become more mindful in the everyday.
Mindfulness Technique #1: Find something thought-provoking
One of the methods that I like to use is the Tao Te Ching. I find it extremely useful as a kind of meditative tool, as there are so many layers of meaning within each of the teachings therein. I like to open the book at random, read the verse that appears, and then take some time to think about what it means. (Incidentally, I also use this technique fairly often in my Facebook discussion group, and I am always fascinated by the various interpretations my tribe members come up with for the passages I post there. 🙂 )
When you immerse yourself completely in the verses of the Tao Te Ching (or any other material you feel connected to), you allow yourself to still the runaway voices and endless task lists running through your head and instead focus on one thing alone. You become mindful of that which is in front of you and let everything else go, if only for a few minutes.
Mindfulness Technique #2: Connect with your breath
A second technique that I personally like to use to help with mindfulness is taking time to focus on breathing exercises. I use a specific technique that begins with several deep breaths and then works through a particular pattern of focusing my incoming breath on each area of my body in sequence.
It’s an effective relaxation technique that also doubles as a mindfulness practice by keeping you focused on your breathing and letting everything else flow out of your mind for the duration of the exercise. (Side note: I actually give away a guided audio meditation of this technique as a bonus when people purchase my Kindle book, Seven-Minute Stress Busters.)
Mindfulness Technique #3: Lose yourself in colour
Finally, one of my favourite mindfulness techniques of all is really the simplest one: colouring. I love colouring, and I actually have a colouring book and a box of crayons of my own that I keep hidden away from the kids (they have tons of crayons and markers of their own). Sometimes, when I feel particularly stressed, I like to take out my colouring book and my crayons and just enjoy working with the colours.
I’m seeing more and more stuff out there about the benefits of colouring in mandalas, and that’s something I do intend to try at some point, but my current colouring book is just a standard kids’ colouring book that I picked up at the dollar store. Plain, simple, easy… and most importantly, soothing. For some reason, when I’m colouring, I am able to let everything else go and just focus on the act of colouring itself.
Keep it simple
If you’re wondering how to be more mindful in life, the most important thing to realize is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Mindfulness is meant to help you – not make you more stressed. So find something simple that works for you and your particular personality. And above all – enjoy it.
photo credit: pixabay.com cc (modified by me)
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Yes, it is helpful. It certainly does not make me more stressed. My brain makes me more stressed!
Nathalie, how did you end up in this business? It was obviously a calling, but did you always want to do it or did you end up here after life led you here from various other routes during which you followed your gut and then you were like, “I am here, hooray!”?
I hear ‘ya — my brain makes me mores stressed sometimes, too. LOL!
How did I end up in this business? Interesting. No one has ever asked me that before. I feel a new post brewing. 😉
Long story short: many “wrong” turns and seemingly random experiences all worked together to get me here. I’ve always loved teaching, even when I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. I’ve also always loved words. I started reading early (my father saw to that), which led to a love of writing (thought that didn’t happen until a little later in life). I guess blogging was a natural extension of that. Bunch of other stuff. Maybe that post would be a good idea… would be a good example of how wrong turns can lead you to the right place.
I think such a post on how wrong turns can lead to right places would be excellent. Your article on Mindfulness really hit the spot, only for me loosing myself in color really means losing myself in my wood shop making something nice or beautiful. Somehow in doing so I just enter into a moment where time seems to slow down or even stand still. I suppose that is what you are talking about?
Hello Ian, welcome to Vibe Shifting, and thank you for commenting! 🙂
That is absolutely what I’m talking about — finding that activity or practice that allows you to enter that no-time zone, where you’re just being. There’s a stillness and a centredness that happens when we are doing something that keeps us completely focused in the moment and allows us to forget all our worries, all our “to do” lists, and all the outside voices. These are the things that allow us to best experience what it’s like to be Who We Really Are without judgement and without fear.
Thanks for the response. so my wood working, and sometimes acting and performance poetry keeps me in the state, and I love it! Thanks for confirming what I thought you were meaning.
You’re welcome. Yes, whatever you do that keeps you in that state can be a mindfulness exercise in and of itself. Mindfulness does NOT have to involve sitting in lotus position and chanting “Om”. If you find yourself in that zone where you’re completely involved in and focused on what you’re doing, you are bringing mindfulness to it. P.S. I love that you have so many different interests — what fun! 🙂
The older I get the more interests I find that keep me busy! Sometime if you have not already done so, please share with us what activities you do that put you in the zone besides of course meditation and the like.
I’ll add it to my topics list for upcoming blog posts… 🙂