7 Easy Steps to Mindfulness
If there is one thing that motherhood does to you, it is to force you to multitask. Yes, if you weren't doing so already, that is. What happens is that you are forever on the move even when you are actually not going anywhere. You sort of turn into a car without breaks, that too one on full throttle. And what about being mindful? And how to achieve mindfulness as you call it? Well, you might as well forget about it with the million other things vying for a space on your to-do list. It becomes harder and harder to focus just on one thing at a time. And with social media already crawling all over you, lack of time and stress become the order of the day.
Our hyperconnectedness is the snake lurking in our digital Garden of Eden. - Arianna Huffington
These past few days I realized that my mind is juggling multiple things at the same time but not focusing completely on any one really. The result, I have become a roaming zombie. I don't even remember to enjoy the cab rides with my daughter, rides that we take to and fro from work every day. While in the cab, she's in her carrier hugging me and even though I'm physically there, I'm never really. At one moment, I'm thinking about the food I packed for her while at the other about work. Then I worry if I kept enough change of clothes and diapers for her in the bag while staring at the traffic signal as though my looking at it would magically turn it green. And if none of these then I'm frantically checking my blogs, Facebook or twitter. I'm always connected. And that is my problem.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, 'Cultivates our ability to do things knowing that we're doing them. - Arianna Huffington
Half way through Arianna Huffington's Thrive, I realize how important it is to live in the moment, experience what matters the most and disconnect from this virtual addiction of today. The fact is I'm doing so many things every single day but honestly, I'm not in a state of complete awareness while doing any of those things. The alarm bells ringing in my mind tell me that I need to be mindful. The uncomfortable heartburn like feeling that has become a constant companion indicates that I need to be in the present and do things differently. I need to not only seek happiness by being grateful but by making some changes and soon. And mindfulness, I feel, is one of the things I need.
So, with that in mind, I have been making a conscious effort in the past few days to ensure that I live more and more in the present, be mindful. You could say I have been strategically working to fight off this restlessness which suddenly seems to be at an all-time high. Here are the 7 easy steps to mindfulness that I'm doing to ensure that I get rid of that uneasiness deep within and focus on what important, on the here and the now.
I make sure to not walk around with the phone in my hand at all times. While travelling, I put it in my purse so that I don't constantly keep looking at it. At home, I fight every temptation to pick it up and check my Twitter feed just this once. It's not easy considering we have been living in this cocoon of connectivity for at least the past decade. But it's not impossible either.
I think reading is a solution to every problem in my life. I read when I'm sad, anxious or even depressed. So why not as a means to mindfulness? What reading does is to create a wall around me which is impermeable to everything else. I have been trying to read to distract myself from the things that have been bothering me. Even five minutes with a book and I feel more connected and at peace. You could say reading is my shortcut to temporary mindfulness.
I have not been getting enough sleep and you know what lack of sleep does to one. So, I have been trying to get my quota of sleep, at least more than I have been getting lately. What that does is, keep me fresh and that helps me concentrate and not keep piling on the lack of sleep stack. If you are fresh, it is easier to be in the present and not walk around the whole day as a sleep deprived worker.
I have always been a list person. Even while studying I would make lists and it's no different now. Making lists helps me move from one task to the other and at any given moment only concentrate on that particular task.
I have started taking breaks in between tasks. What it does is give me a breather, let me refresh, even if not completely. I go for tea or watch something on television. Or, sometimes, I just walk. It's difficult to go for walks at home having to take care of M but I have started going for short walks at work. It lets me refocus without leading to exhaustion. Maybe once S is back in town, I can go for short walks while at home too.
I have been feeling very anxious lately. It's a feeling I cannot quite explain not shake off. There is perhaps a heaviness in my chest and I don't know why. Sometimes it becomes difficult to breathe too without feeling a constant pressure. So, I have been taking deep breaths in between chores to feel centered.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ? Thich Nhat Hanh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices
I have always enjoyed the peace and quiet that comes with being in a room alone. But lately, too much noise and chaos seems to have taken that away from me. The noise from tensions at work, about work or about M's health, stopped me from listening to myself. So, I'm making a conscious effort to just enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone in a room or even at my desk, cut off from the rest of the world whenever I can. It helps me steady myself, not completely yet but maybe I'll be there soon.
“Mindfulness isn't difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ? Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation
At the moment, I am having to work at being mindful. But that's okay. With practice, I hope one day it will come as naturally to me as breathing. It is important too because for me to be physically healthy, I need to be mentally fit as well and I think mindfulness is one of the key ingredients to achieving that.
Tell me, what do you do to be mindful?
This article was originally published on Random Thoughts- Naba