Today as I looked out into my backyard as I saw a hummingbird flitting around my bougainvillea, it made me think about how quickly we can miss those special moments in our life. If I had not been attentive and quiet I would have missed that moment, that beautiful moment that is not so common. The moment passed so quickly. I was fortunate enough to have been filming a squirrel already. If I had not been filming I would not have had time to catch that little guy.
How many of us are like that hummingbird? Flitting around so fast that others may miss those moments with us. We live in a 24/7 world. Cell phones, computers, social media and even jobs have created an expectation that we NEED to be accessible 24 hours a day. This life style at a determent to our health. It increases high blood pressure and stress. Our bodies are not made to go constantly. We need down time. We need to allow ourselves to live in and enjoy the moment. How can we do this? It takes practice. We can learn to be mindful. We can train ourselves to live in the moment.
Below are five easy steps that you can take daily to help increase your ability to be mindful. These can be done alone or utilized together with your family to increase their mindfulness. Each activity can be done in as little as one minute. Start with a comfortable time and increase the time of each activity gradually. By gradually increasing the amount of time you spend doing each step you will increase your ability to mindful.
Utilize your five senses as you engage in the activities:
1. Noticing your breath: Where ever you are take a moment and focus on your breathing. Allow yourself to feel the sensations that your body is experiencing as your breath flows in and out. Notice how your belly rises and falls with each breath.
2. Engaging in an activity: As you are engaged in the activity, focus on one sense at a time. Explore what information your body is taking in through that sense. Start small, such as eating a raisin or piece of fruit. As you continue to practice engage in a more complicated activity.
3. Just be: Get comfortable and relax. Notice how your bodily sensations as you are letting your body just be. How does your body weight feel in the chair you are in? Take not of the sounds that you hear. Allow yourself to fully notice all the sensations that you are experiencing. Now shift your focus to your breathing and the sensations it brings. Bring yourself back to focusing on your breathing if your mind wanders. Notice the thought but let it go and center your focus back on your breathing. Don’t be concerned if it is difficult to stay focused on your breathing. It will get easier with practice. You are training yourself to do something that you have not done. It will get easier!
4. Increase attention: Pick an activity that is more difficult to stay focused on. While engaging in the activity utilize your senses. Notice what sensations that you are experiencing in your body. Breaking the activity down in steps will help this process. It might be helpful to be mindful for one step at a time of the activity if you are having difficulty being mindful.
5. Take a walk: Take a five minute walk with your family or a friend. Individually focus on what your senses are you. Notice how your feet feel as they touch the ground and how your weight shifts your body weight. Take note of the sounds you hear, the sounds of your feet crunching through leaves, birds and dogs...not all sounds you ear. Do you notice wind, sun or rain on your face or body? Notice the smells. Are you aware of animals smells, wet rain, various trees? Notice colors and shapes of everything you see. After the walk take a few minutes to check in with your walking partner. Compare what your senses noticed.