by Alma Campos Diaz
Like most people, I’m busy with very little time to stop and smell the flowers. I’ve tried meditation, but I am new to it, and sometimes my patience runs low– because I’m busy (catch 22). When I really don’t have the time and tolerance for it, I try something else. It’s called being mindful. So no matter what you are doing, you can relax, calm down, and feel present in the moment. Being mindful doesn’t require scheduling and it doesn’t take a big chunk of time from your day.
The best part is that you don’t need experience. You can start learning how to be mindful right this minute.
1. Absorb yourself in what you are doing. That one single thing. Even if it’s just walking, or wiping the counter. Ask yourself, “How does this feel?” Look at whatever you are doing. Examine it well, and remember to stay focused.
2. Pay attention to your breathing. This is especially important when you are stressed out. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Watch your breathing for a few seconds to a few minutes. See it, feel it, be it. You may notice that your breathing starts to slow down, once you pay attention to it.
3. Do one thing at a time. For many years, I was trapped in the nonsense of ‘multitasking.’ I’ve since learned that it’s a myth. There is no way you can do three things at the same time, and do them well. I used to get stressed out because while doing one thing, I was thinking about the next task that needed to get done, and I wasn’t giving anything 100 percent. I ended up feeling tired and overwhelmed. The working world demands the multi-task mentality of people, not because it’s the effective way, but because it’s the cheap and fast way to get things done.
I can’t always single-task. There are times that I have to talk on the phone while I’m preparing food, but I do focus on one thing, when I can. Be patient, because it takes practice and constant checking-in with yourself. Single tasking brings people to the present moment. You’ll find that you’ll have more success in completing your tasks, when you devote yourself entirely to the one at hand.
4. Turn inwards for wisdom. Rather than looking for answers to everyday questions externally, such as the temptation to Google something or the 2.99 Amazon eBook that promises the answer, I ask myself, “Is this something I already know, and am I looking for reassurance?” Turning inwards is about learning to trust one’s inner feelings and acting on them. You have to believe that your way is the right way. It usually is.
These four things make a huge difference and they are easy to do. Meditation is worth it, but in the real world, sometimes there isn’t time. These four tips are an effective and easy way to learn how to be mindful–which is a way to meditate–without even realizing it.