A while ago I wrote a blog post with 11 strategies to bring more mindfulness into your life but today I am going to respond to the many people who asked me which ones I use the most and find the most effective. After much experimentation over the years there are three that I find most potent. They are also extremely simple and easy ways to be more mindful this week.
Why not pick one or two and you try them out yourself this week to see how it goes? If you do you’ll likely find yourself less reactive, more centred and calm and living your life with your inner compass set to true north.
1. ONE MINUTE OF MINDFULNESS
You can introduce powerful one minute mini meditations throughout your day to refresh, ground and centre yourself. You can use a clock or timer for this exercise. Simply set the time for one minute. During this time, your task is to focus your entire attention on feeling the sensations of your breathing, and let everything else go for a while.
You can practice with your eyes either open or closed. If you lose touch with breath and become lost in thought during this time, simply let go of the thoughts and gently bring attention back to the breath. Don’t worry if the mind wanders. When it does just gently guide attention back to the breath as many times as you need to. I like to do this 3-5 times a day at my desk or outside in nature. If you don’t have a timer you can also simply count ten breaths….which takes around a minute.
Minute meditations are a an especially powerful ally in times when your start to feel a little stressed or aggravated or overwhelmed. It will bring you back to a calm centre when things get tough.
2. UNIT TASKING
For a couple of decades now, the catch phrase has been “multitasking.” Some people boast of their multitasking abilities on their resumes or at job interviews, others do it among friends and family as they talk about the things they try to get done in a day. There is a myth that multitasking make us more productive; in reality, it drains us faster. According to the research (1) Trying to spread our attention so thin and keep up with so many things makes us more stressed, slows productivity and makes us more prone to mistakes (1) . The NTSB (national transport safety board) reports that texting while driving is the functional equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.
Research from the University of London and Stanford (1) shows that productivity can drop by up to 40% and IQ points can drop up to 15% when we multitask. When we multitask ee’re not more productive (1) ; we’re just busier, both mentally and physically, exhausting ourselves needlessly.
Try changing your focus to doing just one thing at a time. The official name for this is unit tasking. Take on each task with full awareness, one by one. When mindfully doing a task, you’re less prone to rushing, mistakes or forgetting details. You’ll find you can be more efficient with the task, and finish it without feeling worn out or tense.
When your ‘doing’ try to be there fully, with all of your attention, for each moment of it. The other bonus is that when you unit task you enjoy your work so much more and that’s a wonderful thing because hey – life is not a to-do list. It’s meant to be enjoyed!
3. LISTENING MINDFULLY
When listening to another person we are often there in body, but not actually present mentally. So often, we are not truly focusing on listening to the person who is speaking; we are caught in our own mental dialogue. We judge what they are saying, mentally agreeing or disagreeing, or we think about what we want to say next. We interrupt and interject before they finish their sentence.Try this as a mindfulness practice. Next time you’re with a loved one, co-worker or client, try what is often called ‘deep listening’. Don’t just hear their words; really listen to them. Give them your full undivided attention.
You’ll be amazed at the power of listening; it’s truly rare for someone to give the gift of fully listening these days and it’s an act of kindness and respect to the other. People notice and appreciate it when you truly listen to them like this. The extra benefit is of course that when it’s your turn to speak it’s much more likely that you will also be fully heard in the same way.
I hope you found this helpful. I’d love to hear how you go with it this week. You can share your experience in the comments section below. I love hearing from you : )
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about the power of mindful living you can take a free 7 Days of Mindfulness Course by signing up to my newsletter below. If you’re already subscribed to receive my newsletter you can re-subscribe to start the course.