Six Tips For Mindful Living

by Sue Taggart

1.Live in the present – one thing at a time

Being present, being more conscious of life as it happens and cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more. In fact, I find I’m way more  productive when I’m mindful. And single-task, don’t multi-task – I really do need to take my own advice more!  When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing or driving. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

2. Mind the Gaps – be kind to yourself

I’m frequently running from one meeting to another, taking phone calls on the way – sound familiar? So, I try to find the gaps of space in my day; that time in between activities and obligations. Pause and create space. Let the phone ring two or three times before answering. Listen to the doorbell reverberate through the house. Smell the aromatic coffee before rushing to the pot and pouring a fresh cup. Cultivating space. Being present. Notice everything. In all of this, always remember that self-compassion is a key element to Mindfulness. This is a practice you are choosing to cultivate in your life. Be kind to yourself along the way!

3. Get Grounded – connect with the space around you

I love to practice these small acts during the day, they really keep me grounded. So, wherever you are, notice what is physically supporting you. Press every part of your feet into the strong, sturdy floor you are standing on. As you sit down, notice the texture and comfort of your seat. Place your hands on the surface in front of you and feel its temperature. Connecting with the physical space around you helps you slow down and reorient to the here-and-now.

4. Be still – do nothing for 5 minutes 

I really do try to make time in my day to just sit in silence – becoming aware of my thoughts. focusing on my breathing. Becoming comfortable with the silence and stillness, even for just a few minutes. Whatever works for you, find a time in your day where you can be completely still, alone and uninterrupted for five, ten or twenty minutes. Choose how you use this time. If you are spiritual, maybe you use this time to connect through prayer. Perhaps you choose to focus on a mantra or positive affirmation. Maybe you simply sit in silence and concentrate on quieting your mind. It’ll do you a world of good—and just takes five minutes!

5. Be aware of your thinking – act with intention

You are not your thoughts and emotions. That is an important truth that has taken me forever to learn. Are you constantly worrying about the future? How could you not, but learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. As you become an observer of your thoughts and emotions, you develop the ability to acknowledge without judgment and make a conscious decision about how you choose to move forward. In this practice, you will notice yourself acting from a space of intention rather than reacting from a space of impulse.

6. Really listen – slow down so you can hear

When was the last time you left a conversation not knowing what the other person said because you were so focused on the next thing you had to do? I hate to say it but – guilty as charged!! How many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? (Me…sorry!) Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? ( Again. Sorry). Our schedules are full and so are our minds. Challenge yourself to slow down enough to hear the people and sounds that surround you.

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