Being an expert in the discipline everyone is talking about is as easy (and as challenging) as learning to connect with our present.
Mindfulness, or mindful attention, is defined as intentional attention to our actions with the goal of connecting our bodies to the present without judgment.
But how do we manage to make this connection with ourselves amid a busy life? Not only is it not that difficult, but it's also something we're all capable of because we can do it while carrying out our daily tasks.
Types of Mindfulness
To begin, we must learn to differentiate between formal mindfulness practice and informal mindfulness. In formal practice, we surrender to stillness physically. That is, we sit or lie down for a few minutes and observe our inner selves without passing judgment. We let thoughts and emotions pass in front of our eyes without interacting with them. It's the process of accepting the reality that everything is impermanent, so we can value the present moment. Because the magic is not in the past or the future, but in the now.
In informal practice, we strive to be present during our everyday lives. Although it may seem difficult, it really isn't. It involves continuing to perform our usual tasks while being aware that we are doing them. An example would be practicing what we might call "eating while eating." Don't worry; you don't have to relearn how to eat. Just eat while paying close attention to every movement of your body, every bite, the taste of each food, how it goes down for digestion, the sound of the utensils against the food and the plate, etc.
In short, it's about living in the present without filling it with mental noise, self-criticism, and anxiety.
Incorporating Mindfulness into Your Daily Routine
Next, let's look at some simple exercises you can do to connect with your present and your body without skipping anything in your schedule.
When you wake up, don't just listen to the alarm, grumble, and jump out of bed. Try to connect with your body, stretch, feel how every muscle appreciates your gesture. Ask yourself if you've rested well, and if not, think about what you can change the next night to sleep better. Feel how a new day begins before diving into it with all your confidence and enthusiasm.
One of the best times to practice mindfulness is during your shower. Try to feel how the water runs through your hair, your body, and finally reaches your feet. When you lather up, notice the clean scent of the soap or shampoo and the feel of the sponge. The difference between showering this way and showering while thinking about the problems you'll deal with during the day is enormous.
When it's time for breakfast, matcha is the best ally for a few minutes of mindfulness at home. Pour a gram into your favorite cup or bowl and observe how the green color of the matcha contrasts with the ceramics. Pour in the liquid you'll mix it with and enjoy the impact against the cup. When you're whisking it, whether with the bamboo whisk or the electric frother, let yourself be carried away by the motion. When you finish preparing it, savor it.
If you perform these three small mindfulness rituals before leaving home, you'll notice how your connection with the present and your well-being increases, and you'll feel automatic benefits in your physical and mental health.
When leaving home, if you have the opportunity to walk, even for a short distance, do it. This way, you can focus your attention on your breathing, posture, and movements and give value to that moment when you have two options: consider it a waste of time and dead transportation time or enjoy that free time when, since you can't be productive, no one will ask or expect you to be.
Like any practice involving self-awareness, mindfulness isn't perfected in a day. Integrate it gradually into your daily life, and you'll see it becomes a lifestyle.