Start first by using your senses:
- what are you seeing right now?
- what are you smelling or tasting right now?
- what do you hear right now?
- what does your body feel physically right now?
Connecting even to those four simple questions “right now” is mindfulness.
A few more tips to help you practice being mindful in the best way possible.
- Notice thoughts non-judgmentally
- Act one-mindfully
- Participate effectively
NON-JUDGMENTALLY – when you see thoughts come into your mind, only look at the facts; not the “good” or “bad,” but the “what.” You can separate your feelings from these thoughts with practice, though it does take practice.
ONE-MINDFULLY – instead of claiming that you’re the best multi-tasker there is, stop. Do things one at a time. When you are writing; write. When you are talking to your spouse; talk. When you are eating, just eat. Pay attention to what you’re doing right when you’re doing it. This is mindfulness in a nutshell. When other thoughts come to mind (trying to sleep and you’re thinking about work), observe these thoughts without judgements and then let them go. Remain mindful and one-minded.
EFFECTIVELY participate – focus on doing what works for you. Mindfulness practices are different for each person, so do what works for you. Meet the needs of the situation that you are currently in — no need to think about past situations and how you acted, or how future actions might be changed if you do something different. Do what is necessary to achieve the goals you’ve set. If something isn’t working; STOP DOING IT.
A great way to begin more mindful is to allow someone else to guide you through the process. The use of podcasts (UCLA has a lot of Free Guided Meditations), iPhone apps (like Happify or Headspace), and YouTube can get you started quickly and inexpensively!