Here are a few easy strategies you use can use to inject more enjoyment and happiness in everything you do.
1. Use short one-minute breathing meditations throughout your day. It’s a great way to stay in focus. Here are some great Android apps that can help you with this: “Serenity: Guided Meditation & Mindfulness”, “Himilayan Meditation – Go Beyond All Limitations”, “Waking Up: A Meditation Course”, and “Let’s Meditate: Sleep and Guided Meditation”. I’m sure you can find some great ones for iPhones as well.
2. When speaking to another person, really listen to what he or she is saying instead of preparing your response.
3. Chores like doing the laundry can be mindless. Instead of being bored, focus all your attention on the task. Remember how much fun doing simple things was when you were a child? That’s because you were totally engaged instead of trying to get it over with. When doing the wash, for example, turn your awareness to the texture and colors of the clothes. Notice that just-washed smell. Make folding laundry a game by paying attention to how your hands move. Be in the present.
4. Few of us eat mindfully. We can barely remember what we had for breakfast. Not only is gulping down food a waste, it can cause weight gain. Focus fully on what you are eating instead of watching television or answering your email. Eating is one of our greatest pleasures. Treat it as such. Prepare a colorful plate of healthy ingredients.
Enjoy the aroma of freshly cooked food. Notice the texture as you eat. An orange will feel entirely different from an apple. Can you discern the different spices as they hit your palette? Make each meal a gastronomic and mindful adventure. Savor each bite.
Pay attention to the type of foods you eat. Sugars, simple carbs, prepared foods and unhealthy fats can cause fatigue and lead to serious diseases. You want both your mind AND your body to be at peak performance level. Eat lots of fresh produce, nuts, wheat products and lean meats and fish.
5. Slow down. What you’re hurry, anyway? Many of us take pride in being busy, regarding it as a badge of productivity. We race through our day without awareness like robots, rushing around without knowing where we are or where we’re going. Racing through life mindlessly does not add to our happiness. Quite the opposite. Without living in the present moment, we are far more likely to make careless mistakes.
When we physically slow down, we also slow down our brain. Take time for a mindful walking meditation. Sit in a park and watch squirrels chase each other. Stop for 15 minutes and listen to your favorite music. Take a break and reconnect with yourself.
6. Like rushing through life, multitasking renders us mindless to the present. We’re not focusing on one task but are scrambling mindlessly to do several tasks at once. We’re not accomplishing more, we just paying less attention and making more mistakes.
It’s not only healthier but far more efficient to focus on one task at a time. Life is not a race; it’s a journey to be savored. Mindfulness helps you stay in the moment as you perform one task, then the next. It’s also much less stressful.
7. Develop the habit of “checking in” with your mind. Mindfully observe your thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. Become aware of how you feel when called to the boss’ office or pulling into your driveway at the end of the day. The more you do this, the more you will recognize “script patterns” as they pop up. This will help you control the torrent of negative self-talk instead of becoming overwhelmed. Any time you increase awareness, you are practicing mindfulness. Keep in mind, mindfulness isn’t about always feeling positive. It means always being aware of what you are feeling.
8. Closely related to slowing down, and equally as important, is doing nothing. Almost every day, someone asks us, “How’s it going?” We automatically reply, “Oh, busy, busy,” as if it were a badge of honor. This dialogue, which seems to happen constantly, is as mindless as multitasking.
Our energy level flows and ebbs, and downtime becomes a physical necessity to boost up our optimal performance. Instead of feeling guilty for spending an afternoon relaxing at the beach or enjoying a movie, schedule it into your mindful lifestyle on a regular basis.
The benefit of regular downtime is that we can sit back and simply enjoy the present while using all our senses. Smell the flowers, hear the birds, watch a puppy frolic and enjoy all that life has of offer more and in greater detail.