3 Simple Ways To Be More Mindful Today
As a mom, sometimes I find it difficult to be present in the moment. There is always something to do, somewhere to be, something to think about. As someone who suffers from depression living in the moment can seem like a monumental task, especially trying to overcome the symptoms that come with the illness. I try to cultivate mindfulness throughout the day as a way to find peace of mind.
Being more mindful is hard, though. I’ve read plenty of articles that make practicing mindfulness sound easy, like all I have to do is sit in a quiet room, become aware of my thoughts and aware of what I feel and tah-dah, I should be more mindful. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Mindfulness takes practice, dedication, and willpower. Progress is slow with mindfulness because it’s easy to fall back into old thought patterns, there’s distraction with schedules, deadlines, and expectations, and oftentimes, as women, wives, and mothers, we put the needs of others before our own. For me, it’s hard because my mind is chaotic, sometimes trying to be mindful in the moment is like trying to follow one line on a toddler’s scribble-scrabble drawing.
But the idea of being more conscious of what going on around me and how I’m feeling at any given moment has help me a great deal especially on days where depression has a tight grip on my mental state. Just allowing myself to feel what it is I’m feeling is so much better than trying to fight it or hide from it. Don’t get me wrong, mindfulness isn’t a magic pill that I take and I feel better, no, not in the least, but it does allow me to understand my mental state and accept what I’m feeling.
If you’re just starting your mindfulness journey or if you’ve been on the journey for a while doing these 3 simple things will help you be more mindful today.
1. Do one thing at a time
As mothers, we take pride in the fact that we are great multitaskers. But doing multiple things at one time introduce chaos into our lives. We drive ourselves nuts ripping and running like “a chicken with its head cut off,” moving from one task before we completed the task we are doing.
There has been times where I’m checking emails while cooking, while writing a blog post, while helping my children with homework, while thinking about the next day’s schedule, while watching the clock to make sure my husband is awake to go to work, while listen to my daughter tell me about her day, while… it’s exhausting just writing it, just imagine how exhausting it is mentally and physically.
I’m learning to be more single-minded. Thinking and doing one thing at a time. That often means I have to better plan my day so that task don’t overlap and I have the time to devote to everything that I need to do. But, also just doing things more slowly so I don’t feel anxiety from being rushed.
Doing one thing at a time also means that I’ll be doing less in a day. That’s not to say that I’m being lazy or that I’m advocating procrastination, but I find when I’m doing one thing at a time I’m actually getting more done in my day. It’s like this: I complete 10 task, for instance, doing one thing at a time as opposed to doing 20 tasks but only completing 6 or 7 because of multitasking.
2. Stop worrying about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.
Jesus says it best. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells his followers to take no care of tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. He’s saying live in the present. Stop worrying about the future, do things in the here and now.
So many times I stress over things I have to do at so later time and forget to live in the now. What do I have to do now? Is the question I ask myself more often. There is always something I can be doing right at this moment that doesn’t include worry about the things we have to do tomorrow. The present, as Alicia Keys sings, is a gift. Seconds are fleeting, tomorrow an illusion. It’s better to live in the moment because that’s what we have now; tomorrow, the next hour, minute, second, isn’t promised to any of us.
3. Make daily tasks your mindful moments.
The thoughtless task we do throughout the day are great ways to practice mindfulness and they are great ways to ensure that you practice mindfulness every day. Showering in the morning is one of my mindful moments, also cooking and sweeping the kitchen floor. Just remember to put your entire mind and energy into the task. When cooking, just cook. Notice the aromas, the sounds, the way the food looks. When taking a shower, just take a shower. Notice how the water feels on your skin, how the soap smells, how the steam fills the bathroom.
Of course, your mind will wander, but when it does just refocus your thoughts on the task at hand. And do your mindful task slowly, no matter how mundane it seems at the time and do it completely.
Doing these 3 simple things can change your entire day. Being present can be a huge mountain when there is so much to do but keep practicing mindfulness and it’ll get easier. It’ll get frustrating at times, you might want to give up, but in those moments take a deep breath and remember these feelings are only for a little while.
Do you have ways to be mindful throughout the day? I would love to hear about them to help me on my mindful journey.
May God be with you until we meet again.