I’m sure you’ve heard before: “Live in the moment and you’ll be happy.” But as true as this statement is, it’s not exactly easy.
How are you meant to live in the moment when your mind won’t stop? And what about those boring moments in the day?
The answer to these questions involves learning to practice mindfulness. And it’s an important skill to learn as many research studies are showing that it leads to a more fulfilling existence.
Below are 7 suggestions for implementing mindfulness in your daily life so that it becomes a habit. In other words, you’ll focus more on the present and less on the past and the future.
Practice being curious
The ‘beginner’s mind’ is an essential attitude of mindfulness. This basically means engaging with something as if it were for the first time. Many things are routine in our lives, but by bringing this attitude with you, you’ll add novelty and wonder to even the most basic activities like dishwashing or taking a shower. Novelty is one of the fastest ways to create new neural connections in your brain.
So when you’re doing any routine activity like taking a shower, or eating a sandwich, pretend it was the first time you were ever doing it and be struck by the awe and wonder of it all.
Practising mindfulness is difficult. Like meditation, it’s impossible to completely quieten your mind and be in the moment ALL the time. There are times when you’ll feel restless, stressed, or anxious. Don’t worry, this is normal. Simply acknowledge that this is how you’re feeling and return to the moment the best you can.
Hold your emotions lightly
When you start paying attention to your emotions, you realize that they are like energy in motion, which means they come and go. You’ll begin to realize that whatever you’re experiencing will pass. This allows you to make the most of happy moments while you have them and handle the more difficult moments with grace.
Intentionally paying attention to ourselves with curious and caring attention sends the message to our brain that we’re worth caring about. As we start to pay attention to difficult emotions we become less afraid of them.
Make peace with imperfection
As Zen priest Dogen Zenji said, “To be in harmony with the wholeness of things is to not have anxiety over our imperfections.”
We are especially aware of our own imperfections, which leads to negative self judgment. But once you practice being in the now, you’ll realize that these imperfections don’t really matter anyway, and to be human is to be imperfect.
We naturally guard against vulnerability with ourselves and with others. But if you practice mindfulness, you’ll realize embracing vulnerability develops courage, trust and connection.
Understand that all things come and go
If there is one singular law in life it is that nothing is permanent. Seasons change, food comes and goes, emotions change, we are born and we eventually pass away. If you can really understand this, you’ll realize that there’s no point in holding onto anything. You must let go and treasure every moment the best you can.