Be More Mindful in 3 Simple Steps

What is mindfulness? And can it really help you in everyday situations? Taking a moment to breathe and be aware of your body and emotions is a wonderful way to live. Think of your emotions like a stick of dynamite-and daily irritaitons things like kids whining, coworkers snapping or an idiot driver on the freeway is a match- lighting your dynamite. Someone who isn’t processing their emotions and being mindful of them is a short fuse, ready to explode at every match that comes their way. But mindfulness extends that fuse and helps you put out those potential explosions before they can reach the stick of dynamite.

But mindfulness extends that fuse and helps you put out those potential explosions before they can reach the stick of dynamite.

Daily practice of mindfulness and meditation extends your fuse even further. Still not convinced? Do a quick Google search on the benefits of mindfulness and you’ll find several hundred more reasons. So if you’re tired of yelling at your kids all day, or feeling the rage that comes every time you drive home, try these three steps to becoming more mindful.

1. Accept that emotions are neither good nor bad.

Most of us grew up being told  to “stop crying” or “get over it” and never really understanding how to process what we were feeling. There were “bad” emotions like anger, sadness, jealousy, etc and there were “good” emotions like happiness, calm, content. The problem with this thought process is that when we say “I’m not going to be mad anymore” we push that anger deep inside of us, instead of out and away. Being able to say “I am mad” without also thinking “So I must be a bad person” is the first step to mindfulness. So next time you’re feeling one of those “bad” emotions-don’t label it. Just acknowledge it.

2. Take breaks throughout the day to notice your breath.

Where do you feel it the most? Under your nose? At your belly as it rises and falls? In your chest? Just taking 5 minutes to sit and think of your breath is the meditation your body needs to calm down. Mindfulness is defined as “ a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.” So just take a moment and focus on this present moment of your body breathing.

3. Put away the distractions.

We’ve heard this countless times before- because it’s so important! Turn the TV off while you make dinner and just notice how it feels to chop those vegetable sand how the aroma smells as the finished plate goes on the table. Put your phone out of sight as you sit with your kids in the afternoon. Notice their funny tendencies and quirks. You don’t have to actively play with them- just sit and be there. Be present in the moment. As your to-do list pops in your head note it, and then let it go. You can afford to think about nothing but this moment for a few minutes. (click here for a great article about phone-free zones at the family dinner table!)

So there you have it- not as crazy as it sounds, right? But mindfulness can change your life. It can make your personal life more enjoyable and your work life more sustainable. If you're still feeling stuck, stressed and overwhelmed- maybe a Spa Soul Retreat with Casey is just what you need to reset.