These days, increasing numbers of people are reporting that they feel stressed, snowed under, and anxious on a chronic basis.
There are all sorts of different social trends that various researchers have chosen to point to as a potential cause of this malaise. Ranging from things like changing parenting strategies, to the ubiquity of social media, to the always-on nature of modern work culture.
Regardless of the specific underlying issues at play, one consistent remedy has been the growing interest in “mindfulness” practices of various types – including, of course, meditation.
Here are just a handful of mindful exercises that you can implement into your everyday routine. In order to help maintain your centre, while making each day a bit more special and intentional.
A morning gratitude and evening review.
How often have you found yourself jumping out of bed in the morning and rushing through your routine so quickly. Absent-minded that, for all intents and purposes, your first real memory of the day was arriving at work? And, by the same token, when was the last time that winding down for bed at night actually felt like anything more than just reluctantly switching off the TV or computer in the early hours?
One of the most integral mindfulness practices anyone could ever hope to explore is simply “bookmarking” the day. By means of morning and evening rituals that draw your attention into the present in a deliberate and healthy manner.
One excellent way of approaching this is by starting each day with a moment of gratitude in the morning, and wrapping up each day with an evening review of how things have gone – along with a pledge for how things should go the next day.
This doesn’t have to be very time-consuming and complex. Simply take five minutes in the morning to really think about something you’re grateful for. Then allow that warm feeling so settle in.
Then, before going to sleep at night, do a quick mental review of everything significant that you’ve done during the day. Congratulate yourself for what you did well. Then make a commitment to yourself to do better in the areas where you haven’t been at your best.
A good cup of coffee or tea, enjoyed slowly, at the beginning of the day
Good coffee, ground from fresh coffee beans, is too often treated as a shot of rocket fuel designed to kick start the day – rather than as a special treat to be enjoyed fully. The same is largely true of tea, as well.
Virtually everyone begins their day with either one or the other of these two beverages. So why not just find an extra bit of time in the morning in order to really sit down. Really enjoy your hot beverage of choice, with minimal distraction, and without being in such a hurry?
Simply appreciating the flavour, texture, and temperature of your morning tea or coffee. Can really help to bring you back to the present moment mindfully.
A bit of time spent reading fiction in silence
Non-fiction books are great, but it could be argued that reading fiction is a particularly good way of engaging in some daily mindfulness. Researchers have found that when people read fiction, the same parts of their brains are activated as if they had been experiencing the things they were reading about, in real life. Just to a lesser degree.
Fiction naturally puts you in a contemplative state of mind where even without meaning too . You will naturally be drawn to reflect on life from a variety of angles.
Do you do anything to be a bit more mindful every day?