Have you ever noticed after you bought a new car, that you saw that car on the street way more often? This is because your awareness was raised, and you had a certain radar for that car. Have you ever had a memory or thought triggered by the smell of someone’s perfume or the sound of a song? These are examples of mindfulness. You are hyper aware of these things because you formed a connection to them – you were paying attention through one of your senses at the moment and it made a lasting impression.
Being mindful is the transfer of your awareness from passive to active. Being on-purpose with your awareness opens the opportunity to be in the moment. In the moment there is virtually no anxiety because most things we fear are in the past or worries about a future that isn’t here yet. Being mindful is very simple once you get the hang of it. Here are some tips for simple ways to practice mindfulness:
Pay attention – Shifting your focus to what is right in front of you. What you see, feel, hear, taste, smell. This awareness makes the ‘now’ as real as it can be. Many things happen that we never notice because we are preoccupied with other thoughts or worries. Paying attention brings all the senses and happenings to the forefront.
Soak in the moment – Paying attention is one thing but appreciating and soaking in the moment is another. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, touch in your mindfulness? What do you think about that? Taking the time to experience what you are mindful of makes the experience all the better.
Listen – when is the last time you heard the birds outside, the whirr of the air conditioner, the soft sound of the dryer humming. Be mindful of what you hear and think about how it influences you. In the best of ways, mindfulness helps you enjoy the sounds of nature and life that you may have been drowning out with your thoughts. In the worst of ways, mindfulness can alert you to the ways your senses may be overloaded, and you can trim down some of the noise that is distracting you subconsciously.
Feel – Oftentimes we take the initiative to stop and become mindful in our environment – which is perfect. Paying attention to what we see, hear, and smell is a great thing. Don’t forget to feel, too. Touch the flowers. Walk barefoot on the ground. Feel the soft blankets. Professionals say that the human body needs a minimum of four hugs per day for survival. They say the preference is actually higher than that. Touching things in a mindful way – whether it be a pet, a soft sweater, a warm towel from the dryer – counts as meaningful and mindful touch.
Make an association – As you move through the day being mindful, consciously make associations. As I said above, we all make associations subconsciously that pop up when we are triggered. Memories flood us when we hear a song, go to a restaurant, or eat a certain food. You can purposefully create memories as you soak in what is amazing about each current moment.
Being mindful creates an awareness that transforms you into a more focused person. Your ability to be in the now and focus on what is right in front of you can actually help you become better with details, better at managing stress, and more grateful. Practice these simple mindfulness techniques and enjoy!