My first teacher said a few simple things to me in my first yoga teacher training. Simple things that have stuck with me over the years, “Amber, when you eat, just eat. When you watch TV, just watch TV. When you read, just read.” – Maybe he was picking up on my easily distracted nature. Or perhaps he was able to predict the future and knew what we were all destined for. Constant distraction, available to us all, 24/7 and literally, at our fingertips. This has become a huge part of our culture. Email, social media, contact with anyone, anywhere, anytime. All day, every day. We now have the option to be available anytime, to always be “on”, to always be working, to have messages flashing in our faces, making our minds up for us…isn’t that what we have always wanted? Ahhh the technology conundrum…
I am a believer in making small, yet surprisingly impactful, changes in my life. I have tried to do it the other way, the do everything all at once overwhelm and put a ton of pressure on myself way and – you guessed it, it doesn’t work. So to begin I started to incorporate these few little “mindfulness” practices that I, a “busy” person, use in my daily life to try to stay present and make space in my life for my OWN thoughts, even when at times things may seem chaotic.
1 – I don’t bring my phone into my workout or yoga practice. I see this all of the time, people bringing their phone into their yoga, gym or spin class. Checking emails and texts between sets, on water breaks – so really, you haven’t even taken 45min for yourself in your day if you can’t leave whatever else is behind even for 30 min a day. My question to you is “What can’t wait?”
2- Going for your daily walk/run with no earbuds in. Get outside and enjoy your morning walk, maybe your morning coffee without looking at a screen or listening to someone else talk. Just you, the outdoors and your own thoughts. I call this my walking meditation.
3- When you eat, just eat. Whether you are alone or with friends – why do we feel the need to be having a conversation with someone else when you have chosen someone else’s’ company. Can you put your device away and be fully present for the people you are with, or just simply pause to have a moment of gratitude for the food you are taking into your body.
4- I have mentioned this in a previous blog post, but I am big on it. No social media for at least the first hour of your day. This for me is a way to start my day off without added distraction and get clear on what lies ahead. Also side note – when you are on vacation, sure a few posts here and there are great, but if you are too busy documenting the whole thing online, how present are you really being. Second side note #nobodycares
5- Make your morning commute more purposeful. Driving is something a lot of us spend too much time doing, and it isn’t really a choice. So why not make your drive time a time to learn or get inspired? Download some great podcasts and depending on the mood you are in, use that time to learn something about work, yourself or find someone or something that inspires you to be better. I started doing this a while ago and I am amazed at how much I have been able to apply into my daily life both personally and professionally.
At the end of the day of course there are the days when we all have something going on personally, or at work, so we need to make ourselves more available and I do have my phone in hand more than I might like. And yes sometimes I end up rushing out the door because I spilled my coffee or forgot to take the dog out. But I try my best, and when things don’t go as planned during my day, these other mindfulness practices that I took time to incorporate make it much easier to let things go.
We live in a society where the word mindfulness is thrown around all of the time, it can be confusing to know what it means or how to apply it. Maybe you don’t have the time to sit and meditate, or you find it hard, or you don’t know where to start. So start with the small things, a few of your own little practices that can all easily weave into your daily routine. We are being pulled away by distractions all day. The least we can do for ourselves, even in the business of our lives, is to make the choice to be present as often as we can. Making the chaos a little less chaotic.