“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Life’s beauty is around us all the time, but often we are too preoccupied to notice. Have you ever driven to work on autopilot? When you arrived, you were startled to realize you had no recollection of the drive. Or when was the last time you ate a meal so lost in thought that it surprised you to see an empty plate? You didn’t even taste your food.
One way to get present to the beauty in our lives is to pause and savor life’s little pleasures; the crunchy sweetness of the first bite of apple, the bright green leaves of early spring, a child’s laughter.
Pausing to connect with ourselves in the moment and notice feelings, thoughts, and sensations without any judgment of good or bad is known as mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness can help you create calm and enjoy your life more fully through awareness and acceptance of whatever is arising in the moment.
We can train ourselves to be more mindful with practices like meditation and yoga, or by pausing to observe the moment right here right now. Try these simple techniques:
Take a three breath pause.
At any point in your day (on waking, when you step out the door, before you go into a meeting), you can stop and simply take three full breaths. Nothing needs to happen but the breath. Enjoy the stillness.
Go on a sensory walk.
Use your senses on your next walk. Notice the colors you see, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, listen for the birds and other sounds. Each time you get lost in thought, come back to a focus on what you see, hear, and feel.
Try this short meditation on breath:
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit comfortably in a chair and close your eyes. Take three long, deep breaths, exhaling through your mouth and then breathe naturally in and out of your nose. Choose an anchor point for your breath, somewhere you feel it prominently. It may be at your nostrils, chest or abdomen. Observe your breath with a focus on the sensations at your anchor point. There is no need to change the breath in any way, just observe. When you notice you are thinking, let the thoughts go and compassionately come back to a focus on your breath. It doesn’t matter how many times you bring your focus back to your breath. There is nothing wrong. You are meditating! Do this until the timer sounds.
For more tips and techniques for living mindfully, see 10 Practices to Ignite Body, Mind, and Spirit.
And please join us for our next Mindfulness and Healthy Living Retreat for Women on June 10-12, 2016.