Are you “here”? Or are you feeling like a rushed zombie? Churning through the endless to-do list, only to add more? The other day I arrived at an appointment, with almost no memory of having driven there. Hmmm. The typical solution? WORK HARDER. Multitask. Sleep less. Rush through.
Ram Dass says, “The next message you need is always right where you are”. But those messages are missed when you’re barely attending. But there is an answer: You can begin to balance your life through mindfulness: being aware of the present moment, nonjudgmentally. It can be hard! Thoughts arise, pulling us off into internal dialogue. “I need to return that call…” Mindfulness acknowledges this and returns to being fully present and aware.
1.) Breathe. Deep breathing (“belly breathing”) has calming and health benefits.
2.) Notice. What do you see, hear, feel? Recently, I paused while buzzing around the house and just noticed the beauty of my kids playing and laughing together. Amazing!
3.) Slow down. You certainly can mindfully enjoy fast-paced activities but at first, it’s best to take it easy.
4.) Release judgments. Our brains are amazing judging machines–important for survival but robbing us of experiencing NOW. Even when the present moment is less than joyful, being fully “there” allows more effective problem-solving.
5.) Practice. No one is the “most mindful”. Practice makes progress, and you will discover what truly matters, now.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love they will bloom like flowers.” ~ Thich Nicht Hahn
Dr. Lori Warner is a supporter of “A Beautiful Me®”. She is a clinical psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, director of Beaumont Children’s Hospital’s Ted Lindsay Foundation HOPE Center, and an instructor at Oakland University’s School of Professional Development. Her private practice offers Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for adults, and writes a blog called “Smidge of Happiness”.