It's an epidemic. People everywhere are burning the candle at both ends, working long hours into the night while their family and relationships suffer. When they put more effort into relationships and obligations then they feel like they're not present and they're not able to enjoy the moment. "How to be more mindful" is a common Google search, but some of the results that you may come across are unattainable for the average person. Unplugging for a week, spending an hour each day in yoga and meditation, or moving to another community where mindfulness is valued isn't possible for most people.
Even if these major ways to be more mindful aren't something that you can do, there are a number of smaller ways that you can focus more on what you're doing each day and therefore enjoy your life more. These easy ways you can be present will change your life by making you more mindful in everyday moments.
Really Taste Your Food
We often are eating on the run. Even if we're not going through the drive-thru, eating food in front of the TV or quickly bolting it before dashing out the door makes mealtime just another task to accomplish. Pausing while you eat and really savoring your food can slow you down and make you present. Taking deep breaths before you eat will calm your nervous system and allow you to experience each flavor, smell, and texture you enjoy.
Deep Breathing at Red Lights
We all sit at red lights each day, but you can take advantage of that quiet time to relax instead of becoming more stressed. Just a few deep breaths at each red light will immediately help connect you with your surroundings.
Pay Attention to Your Senses
Your body's senses are amazing, but if you don't take time to enjoy the feelings they produce then you're missing out on a huge part of the human experience. The next time you wash dishes, pay attention to the feeling of warm water on your skin. Listen to the birds in the morning, and smell some flowers you pass by.
Put Down Your Phone
Nothing has the power to pull us from our present situation quite like our phones do. Anytime we have a down moment we reach for them to keep from being bored. But paying attention to your surroundings will help you become more connected to the world around you.
Listen to Your Body
Try a "full body scan" to really pay attention to what's going on from your toes to your head. Listen to what aches, what feels good, or where you're holding tension and you'll be more in-tune with your own body.
Pause Between Tasks
Instead of rushing from item to item on your to-do list, try to slow down and enjoy the transitions in your day. You'll find that you focus better on what you're working on and have a greater appreciation for the world around you.
Practicing mindfulness is something you do everyday, but it doesn't have to take up a large portion of time. Pay attention, slow down, and learn to enjoy each moment as it comes.