You know the drill. There’s work, driving the kids to various activities, chores around the house, squeezing in time for visiting with family and friends – the normal-everyday-hustle-and-bustle.
If we’re not careful, we can quickly get swept away finding ourselves burned-out mentally, physically and spiritually. At a time like this, how can we think about embracing the moment?
Well, what if I told you that if you recognize yourself at this point, burned-out, then you’re halfway there – welcome to team awareness. To embrace the here and now, we must practice mindfulness – the practice of accepting the present moment.
Here are four tips that I frequently use to shift from team cray-cray to team present moment awareness.
Number 1: Stop being so hard on yourself
Understand that your mind is going to do its own thing and that’s okay. When we begin practicing mindfulness, I think there is a preconceived notion that we have to try hard to get it right by analyzing every little thing. Being motivated to practice mindfulness is fine, but it shouldn’t feel constrictive.
If your life is super-busy, please don’t beat yourself up thinking you have to practice every day for an hour. We have to set realistic goals and find creative ways to get our practice done. Perhaps it’s a quick breathing meditation in the car before walking into the office, or taking a few mindful breaths before going to bed, practicing mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to limit your creativity.
But remember part of mindfulness is accepting discomfort. Practice will not always be easy, so it’s important to be gentle with ourselves and to keep in mind that we are building a solid foundation of calmness, this will take time.
Number 2: Develop gratitude
I have never been great at expressing gratitude, but I’m getting better. One practice that has helped me is keeping a gratitude journal. Writing a list of gratitude before going to bed is such a beautiful, reflective practice.
Over time, writing a gratitude journal has allowed me to take the words off the page and express gratitude vocally to loved ones. The more gratitude you show, the more gratitude you experience – it’s so cliché but entirely true!
I believe gratitude is the core practice of embracing the now. If we find ourselves in a difficult situation, for example with a child as we’re trying to get out the door in the morning or maybe with a co-worker who is upset with us then if we express gratitude the situation will quickly resolve.
Number 3: Practice breathing meditation
If gratitude is the core practice of embracing the moment, then breathing meditation is the energy that powers that core.
Practicing breathing meditation is essential, so make sure to find a quiet place. Remember to be realistic; you don’t need an hour you can take five minutes in the car if that is the only quiet time you can get.
Gently close your eyes and focus on the sensation of the breath entering and exiting the nostrils. Again, remember your mind will do its own thing. If a thought pops up, observe it like a cloud and let it roll by giving it no attention, then return to the breath. The sensation of the breath is the object of the meditation, give this object your attention.
Begin by doing this for 5-10 minutes. As you become more comfortable feel free to practice longer.
Number 4: Use mindful movement
Bringing it all together is the idea of conscious action. As you become more and more comfortable with breathing meditation, you can practice mindful movement during the meditation break.
This practice means we are mounting our breath with our actions – think Hatha or gentle yoga and practices like Qigong. With each movement, there is a breath.
Many people like to practice walking meditation by slowing the steps and focusing on each level with a mindful breath. Over time we can apply the method to faster-paced activities like dance and running.
Eventually, it becomes second nature, and we bring our mindfulness practice out of mediation and into our day-to-day operations.
Embrace the Now
These four tips will help to integrate mindfulness into daily activities at work, home and around family and friends. With a gentle approach based on gratitude and powered by breathing meditation, we can see how embracing the moment is not as complicated as it seems.
As with anything, the more we practice mindfulness and meditation the easier it is to embrace the now, the present moment. With enough practice, you can find the silver lining in any situation thus turning it into a spiritual practice.
When we are rushing out the door with the kids in tow, we remember the virtue of patience. If a co-worker is making the office difficult, we recognize the virtue of compassion. While we clean around the house, we remember the virtue of gratitude.
I’d love to hear how you embrace the now, so leave a comment below letting us know what is and what isn’t working for you!
Originally appeared on CM.
Photo by Pixabay.