If the days are dashing by too fast, you’re probably in need of some mindfulness. While courses are available for acquiring specific mindfulness skills, you can also find your own ways to be mindful during your daily routine. Here, Russell Jack – a mindfulness teacher from Southland, NZ, gives five suggestions on how to start you off, and you’re sure to find more opportunities once you start looking. Each of these will reward you by slowing down the days with meaningful, life-enhancing experiences.
Relish your food
If it’s your habit to snatch a meal on the move or browse social media while eating, try turning your full attention to your food instead. Let other activities wait while you savor the textures and flavors of your meal. Be mindful of the food’s warmth and pleasing substance. Notice the surge of energy it sends around your body, and feel the calm serenity of your mind at the end of the meal. Pause a minute longer to think where the ingredients came from, and how fortunate you were to have such a satisfying meal. By making your meals special and memorable, you will slow down your day in the most delicious way.
Take note of nature
Try to make time to go outside each day, or at least look out of the window, to imbue the natural world around you. Breathe in the fresh air and feel the impact of the day’s weather. The warmth and light of a sunny day will be inspiring, and rain will also be invigorating and refreshing, once you relax and accept its soft wetness on your skin. Now, look out for other natural elements in the scene around you. You might see trees, birds, insects, or pebbles, for instance. Fix your attention on one, and study its features as if for the first time. Feel the curves and smoothness of a time-worn pebble, or see how passing bird tips and tilts in flight, catching the light on its wings. Listen to the hum of a tree in the breeze and watch the carefree fall of a leaf. Your mindfulness will bring you closer to the wonders of nature, and help you feel at one with your surroundings.
Focus in on your favorite activity
However busy you are, you should make time for a little leisure in your day, and chances are you have a favorite hobby or pastime activity. Whatever that may be, you can make even more out of it by heightening your awareness of the pleasures involved. Whether you play an instrument, hand-craft ornaments, or read novels, for instance, take a minute or two to consider the sensations involved. Perhaps you experience a mix of mental stimulus, peace, and empowerment, or other elements like emotional expression, humor, or, for a shared activity, companionship. Be mindful of those sensations, while also registering the time, place, and ambiance of the scene, so you can take stock of the experience and cherish it.
Celebrate a golden moment
Sometimes a special moment will arise out of the blue. It might be a piece of good news, an unexpected gift, a rare call from a valued friend, or a hilarious occurrence, for instance. You may have a busy schedule that day, but don’t let that gem of a moment slip by half-noticed. Put other matters on hold for a few minutes so you can absorb and process the wonderful happening. Dance around the room if you feel like it, or clap your hands and sing to the sky, if that’s your impulse. Capture the event in words or pictures, and share it with friends and family. If you keep a diary, be sure to enter this highlight, however small or brief it may be. Your note will help you hold the golden moment in your mind, besides bringing it back in a flash when you look back later. Effective mindfulness can be as simple as that.
Feel the snugness of your bed
When you climb into bed at night, open your mind to the full sensation and life will standstill yet again. Savor the softness of the coverings and the gentle give of the mattress. Smell the fresh, calming scent of clean sheets and feel your cheek sink luxuriously into the pillow. Settle down in your favorite position and register the welcome relaxation of body and mind alike. Listen to sounds through the window and peer through the drapes at the nightlights outside, to put your personal experience from a wider perspective. Mindfulness of your surroundings will give you a reassuring sense of stability and connectedness as you drift off to sleep.
There are all sorts of ways to slow down the days with special, treasured experiences. Whenever you pause to feel and contemplate the moment, time will pause with you. What’s more, you’ll remember those mindful moments, so they’ll enrich your future, too.
About Russell Jack
Russell Herbert Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights protection, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.