In life, we get stressed beyond measure. Whether it be balancing a 40-hour a week job, raising a child, finding yourself, or all of the above, we all have a lot on our plates.
Yet, there are ways we can find balance daily that people often overlook. When searching for a word that encompasses these daily struggles and how to defeat them, or at least put them at ease, you would be hard-pressed to find a better one than mindfulness.
“Mindfulness is about much more than the mind.”
As we look at three techniques for mindfulness, we must challenge ourselves to look within and ask why we are seeking them out. Is it clarity you want? Is it balance you seek? Is it peace of mind? Or some combination of these?
What do you hope to gain from this article?
While I cannot give you a perfect formula, what I can provide are tried and true techniques that have helped me become more mindful throughout my years. Everyone is different. I repeat:
Everyone is different
Some of you may walk away after you read this article feeling the same. Others may feel rejuvenated and ready to take on life and its daily struggles. While I hope every single person who reads this feels the latter, I know I am not perfect, and neither are you. We must accept that problems are a part of life, but how we choose to react to and how mindful we are of them, are what matters.
Here are 3 techniques to achieve mindfulness:
Quiet/Alone time: While this technique doesn’t require you to be alone and for your surroundings to be tranquil, it is preferred. As humans, we are natural-born communicators. Through various methods such as talking, body language, cell phone, and social media usage, we communicate with others. Although our yearning for communication is innate, so is receiving quiet/alone time. We all need quiet time. Whether you’re always on the go like me or have kids running around incessantly screaming, it’s required. For a peaceful mind, that is. Not to mention, you should couple your quiet time with being alone.
“The same way we lean into daily communication, we must lean into daily alone time.”
This time by ourselves with no distractions is crucial to our daily well being. Having a moment of silence by yourself can do wonders for the mind.
Breathing: This technique is expected, but often overlooked. Every day we take for granted perhaps the sharpest tool in our arsenal for achieving mindfulness, breathing. Do you ever stop in the middle of doing something and complete breathing exercises? How about mindfulness exercises? Whether you’re working on a big project for work or generally feel anxious, do you? If the answer is yes, great. If it’s no, then we have work to do.
“Breathing is a natural function of being a human.”
By taking moments to simply breathe throughout your day, you remind yourself that you are human. You can make mistakes, you can encounter problems, but you can overcome all of them. Placing a daily breathing exercise into your routine is one of the best things you can do for mindfulness. It could give you the clarity your heart desires, or at the very least, make you feel a little less tension.
Meditation: Breathing and meditation go hand and hand, yes. But meditation takes the technique of breathing for mindfulness one step further. There are different types of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, morning meditation, and sleep meditation, and they are all unique. Any type of meditation is recommended.
At this point, you’ve mastered your daily breathing or have at least committed to it.
By doing so, you’ve allowed yourself to take the next step. Meditation, in its simplest definition, is about letting your thoughts come and go. For example, it’s about letting your mind flow like a river. While there will be rocks, aka thoughts, that try to intrude on the smooth path of the river, the river, aka your mind, flows on in spite of this. You see, you will have thoughts. You are human, and there’s no way to avoid them. But how you react to these thoughts is what matters. By letting go of them, you allow yourself to be more mindful.
For example, watch this video on mindfulness. The speaker, Andy Puddicome, explains how all you need is 10 minutes a day to be mindful. A great tool I use for this is an app called Headspace, featuring the voice of Andy Puddicome.
We should find time to practice mindfulness throughout our day. If you prefer the mornings when you first wake up, in the middle of your frantic day, or right before you lay your head down to go to sleep, it doesn’t matter. Whichever it may be, try implementing at least one of, if not all three of these techniques into your daily routine. By doing so, you will give yourself the best chance of achieving mindfulness.