Practice

Guest Post: THE 3-STEP MINDFULNESS CHALLENGE

I welcome Natasha Bounds from Intention at Home to the Love Life Practice team, and this is the first of what I hope will be regular contributions!

No, this is not a post about setting up time in your schedule or doing certain exercises for the next 30 days. It’s not that kind of challenge. This challenge is more cerebral. I am going to ask you to challenge the way you perceive mindfulness in everyday life.  I am going to ask you to think about how you can incorporate mindfulness in a way that doesn’t feel like something separate or extra.

We all live busy stressful lives and there is a lot going on the world right now that may be adding to your stress level. Mindfulness gives us an opportunity to slow down and enjoy life.  It doesn’t have to look like getting up everyday and meditating or sitting cross-legged in a field of wildflowers chanting. That would be easy. It isn’t that…obvious.

What it looks like is being present. It looks like slowing down to eat a meal, maybe even putting away your phone and turning off the television.  There was a time that we would sit down at a table and actually enjoy our food and talk to one another.

Weird, huh? I am not asking you to change your whole life around, just asking you to try to shake it up a little. Eating slowly helps your digestion and having actual conversations with people about how they are doing helps us get out of our heads.  I spend way too much time thinking about what I need to get done, what do we need in the house, how am I going to get ALL THE THINGS done?

The problem I find when I am up in my head that way is that it becomes very difficult to sit down and actually do any of cleaning, work, or relaxing I have been obsessing about!

So, how can you become mindful about these things?

  1. Stop. Yes, stop.  I want you to take a breath. It really can be as simple as just stopping what you’re doing and slowing down your breathing. When we start trying looking at everything we have to do we can become stressed or panicky.  This, for a lot of us, means shallow quick breathing which does nothing to help the feeling. There is most likely nothing so urgent that you can’t just stop and slow your breathing down.
  2. Focus. What needs to be done first? Do it and then move on to the next task.  I know we all think we do this a lot more than we actually do it. It’s next to impossible to complete multiple tasks simultaneously and have them done well. Figure out the steps and then do each one in order not worrying about the next one until the current one is done. This is being present.
  3. Gratitude. Have an end time and congratulate yourself for the things that you WERE able to accomplish. It does us no good to sit and think about everything we didn’t get done. We can’t create more time and things did get done.  All you can do is step away from it, congratulate yourself what you have accomplished and move on to the next part of your day.  Doing these things then gives you the opportunity to sit and enjoy them.

See there ? Little steps and you didn’t even have to pull out your meditation cushion or burn any incense.  

You should try and let me know how it goes.  I want to hear about what works for you.

You can read more of Natasha’s thoughts and suggestions at http://intentionathome.com . Image is used courtesy of Nickolai Kashirin.

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