The concept of mindfulness is a trending topic when it comes to self care, but it isn’t as easy to There’s good reason for the popularity of mindfulness, too — it can help reduce stress, it might make you happier, and it’s a great alternative to the hectic, multitasking nature of modern life.
But, what is it? Well, the definition is straightforward: Mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
How often are you on “auto pilot,” moving through the motions of your day without actually thinking about what you’re doing and what’s going on in the world around you? Most of us go into auto pilot mode on occasion, especially during routine tasks like eating food, washing the dishes, walking the dog, or doing laundry.
Instead of turning your brain off, try this instead: The next time you eat, do it mindfully. Take a bite of food and pay attention to how it feels in your mouth. Recognize the texture, temperature, smell, and taste. Focus on the motions of chewing, down to the individual jaw muscles making it all happen.
For a more mindful laundry experience, use similar concepts. Slow down, smell the freshly laundered clothes, feel the warmth from the sun or dryer on your arms, and reflect on some favorite memories you’ve had while wearing the clothes.
Developing a regular meditation practice is an amazing way to be more mindful. As Mindful.org write “Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.”
Not sure how to get started? Have no fear, we’ve got you covered with these two helpful guides: Meditation For Beginners and 5 Meditation Apps & Resources to Help You Relax On The Go
It feels amazing to be in the presence of a good listener, someone who pays attention to what you’re saying and who makes you truly feel heard and understood. These people are listening mindfully and have a genuine interest in your experience.
So, if you want to live a more mindful life, work on becoming a better listener. Help the other person feel heard by actively participating, asking open-ended questions, and silently noting your reactions as they come up without disengaging. If you’re having trouble listening, check in with yourself and assess whether there’s something in your life that needs to be addressed.
Mindful listening isn’t just for the sake of others, either. You also need to listen to yourself, which can be easier said than done. This is another area where mindfulness meditation can be helpful. With enough practice, you’ll become the empathetic listener you’ve always wanted to be around.