Creating a mindfulness habit
If you do not understand what mindfulness means, firstly check out this post.
If you want to live a mindful life, it is important to be aware of what you are doing in all of your waking hours, but unless you make an effort to be aware on a daily basis it is very easy to be distracted by a lot of things throughout the day.
Occasionally we are trying “to be at the moment” or “notice the little things more” but distractions and preoccupations take over and the idea of being mindful falls apart.
What can we do with it? How can we make it stick?
The answer is to create a mindfulness habit! And your mind is able to do this!
It is not difficult to establish new ways of thinking and doing things, provided by constant repetition.
When you do or think in a new way, you create new connections (neural pathways) in your brain. Then, every time you repeat the action or thought, every time you use the newly established pathways, they become stronger and established.
It is like a flywheel effect; it is always difficult and almost impossible at the beginning to push a flywheel. You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster, and with continued great effort, you move it around a second rotation. You keep pushing in a consistent direction. Three turns … four … five … six … the flywheel builds up speed … seven … eight … you keep pushing. It builds momentum and at some point – breakthrough! You make the habit stick and the habit is working for you!
Since your distracted and preoccupied mind is not going to remind you to be mindful, you need something else to remind you. You need a mindfulness habit!
Here are some tips that can help you to create a mindfulness habit to be more mindful throughout the day
|Set a timer on your phone with a soothing signal as reminders to be mindful throughout the day at random times and places. When you see the reminder, take a moment to pause, take three deep breathes, pay attention to where you are, what you are doing and what you are thinking at that moment.|
|Put a sticky note in your bathroom and on your fridge and write on it: “Be mindful”.|
|Try to do things differently to experience different results. Write down the ideas on sticky notes of what can you do differently and stick them on your desk and your fridge as a reminder.|
|Make a mindfulness date with yourself, a time in a day when you can stay with yourself and do something devoted to mindfulness, like taking a short walk, drinking a tasty cup of tea or eating a meal in a quiet place.|
|Make a commitment to be mindful every time you open a door. When you open a door, let go of everything that is in your mind (you can pick it up shortly after you close a door) and watch your hand pushing the door or grasping the doorknob. Open the door with patience and purpose. Feel the weight of it. Smell the air and notice the revelation of a new scene. Listen to the sounds of the space that you have just left and to the sounds that appear in a space where you are coming in.|