Mindfulness is a key skill for happiness and we can do it wherever we are. So here are some ideas to get started - it'll help you get more from your day!
Why Do It?
In our busy lives we constantly have our head full or thoughts about the future or about the past - what are we going to do next or what are we going to become or how well or badly we just did. This means we're often not that aware of what is around us, and what happening in the here and now. So there's likely to be a lot good stuff that we miss (or not so good stuff that we really need to be aware of). It also means that we often do things more out of unconscious habit rather than fully conscious choice.
Being mindful means being more fully aware of what is around us - what we can see, hear, touch and taste. And what is happening inside - our thoughts and feelings. It's about learning to observe all this but not getting caught up in thinking or worrying about it, so being able to choose what we then attend to.
Mindfulness has been shown to help us be healthier, less affected by stress, more relaxed, more creative, more open to learning, sleep better, improve our relationships with others and feel happier and more satisfied with our lives.
What's great is it's a skill that anyone can learn and benefit from. It is very simple, and need take only a few minutes a day. But it does take a bit of practice and it may be hard at first. Keep at it and you'll feel the benefits in many areas of your life.
Where to Start?
There are lots of different ways to practice mindfulness. If you can, a good place to learn and experience it is to join a class or use a CD or online tool (see Resources below). And there is also a separate action on this website if you'd like to learn how to meditate, which is a great way to be more mindful. However, we can all start by trying a few simple exercises during our daily routine. Try one of these for a week or two and notice what you notice!
1. Observing mindfully
This is about simply trying to increase what we're aware of and our consciousness of what is around us. It only takes a few extra minutes. Here are some ideas to try:
Eating is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Have a go…may be try it with a piece of you favourite fruit or even some chocolate…
Source: Action for Happiness
Since moving to Michigan, I have developed a love for taking pictures of sunsets. To be fair, I am snapping pictures on my iPhone, but I get great enjoyment from taking a picture at just the right moment that makes for a great visual.
In southwest Michigan, we are so blessed to have beautiful, diverse sunsets. Sometimes the sky lights up with pinks, purples and blues, but other times the sky is on fire with bright oranges and reds. Sometimes there are dark, heavy clouds, and other nights there is hardly a cloud in the sky. Each sunset is so unique.
I have become keenly aware of the sky around the time the sun is going to set. I closely monitor the position of the sun and the amount of clouds in the sky. I often race from the gym to Second Street to capture the sun dipping under the lake. (To my dismay-- Second Street isn't available right now due to erosion!)
Here are a couple of pictures I have taken since November. The winter rarely provides sunsets for us, but spring and summer are just around the corner!