Have you ever driven your children to school and pulled up to let them out and forgotten how you got there? Or listened to your child ask you for something only to realize you weren’t listening to them at all? Instead you were going over all of the things that need to be done around the house, or thinking about your work project deadline. This is mindLESSness, the opposite of MindFULness. MindLESSness is where our thoughts are jumbled and don’t have much meaning.
Some of the ways mindfulness helped me….
- Became more Organized
- Increased my Productivity
- Became more Focused
- I’m HAPPIER!!! YAY (In my Oprah voice)
- Able to enjoy my life journey
- Appreciate what I have
- I am on overall Better Parent
Take a few minutes and find out 6 ways that Mindfulness can help you become a better parent
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment, simply put, it means awareness. It is the act of being aware of your body, mind and feelings during the coarse of your day, it is paying attention to what is going on in any given moment. Mindfulness is also about acceptance, being able to accept your feelings and thoughts without judging them. Mindfulness is a step towards taking control of your life by first taking back control of your mind.
Why do I need to be Mindful, what’s in it for me?
MindFULness changes the process of not being present in the moment because you have too much going on in your head.
- Increase Focus
- Find Calm and Serenity
- Increase Productivity, Make the Most of your 24 hour day
- Segment your Day/Tackle more Tasks
- Control the Flow and Pace of your day
For example, you made it to work, even though you didn’t brush your teeth…you are sitting at your desk trying to get started for the day. You are thinking about all of the things that need to get done, all of the goals you have and are immediately struck by a feeling of overwhelm. How are you going to get everything done? This is where mindfulness is helpful.
Imagine if you could wake up in the morning with a sense of calm, knowing that you can control the flow and pace of your day by using mindfulness. Now that you have an idea of what mindfulness is and its benefits, here are 6 ways to incorporate a mindfulness practice into your daily life.
If this isn’t enough to get you on the Mindfulness train, try reading The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. This book is a fantastic guide on living in the moment and why it is a must. I know I know, you are too busy to read, get it on audiobook and listen to it in the car…no excuses!
6 Ways to incorporate Mindfulness into your daily routine
1. PLAN YOUR DAY
Have you ever heard the saying, “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”? It is possibly the most important thing I have learned since becoming a parent. Get a planner I use this one, The Day Designer ™, but any planner will do. At a glance you will be able to see your schedule and your children’s schedule. In the planner I use there is also a space for goals and the most important things on your to do list. Planning is like giving your day a framework, you can’t build anything without proper framework, including your day.
Take a few minutes each night to plan the following day. Planning your day allows you to set realistic goals. Using a planner helps you find focus, balance and be more productive. Consolidating notes and lists and post-its will instantly help your mindfulness journey.
I often get the question, Where do I start? Well, start where you are. If you have a list of 100 things that need to get done write them all down. Now, unless these are tiny mundane things or you have figured out how to fit more hours in the day (if you have, let me know), then you won’t be finishing your whole list in a day. However, this is how you get started. By writing down everything you want to accomplish you can prioritize. You can prioritize however you like for example, from most important to least or by how much time each task will take, whatever works for you. Most of all, get started, I promise you this step will change your life.
2. START A JOURNAL
I know what you are thinking. You are busy enough, the last thing you need is to add something else to your plate. I know, I felt the same way when I decided to practice mindfulness. Don’t worry, I am not suggesting you write a novel every night. Take 5 minutes, yup, that’s all you need to write and I guarantee you it will lead on a path towards greater awareness. Write about your day, what you enjoyed, what didn’t you enjoy, write down your goals, write about how your past is affecting your present. Write about whatever it is you need to say to yourself. Journaling is a great way to connect with your deepest feelings and desires and thus a perfect beginning to being mindful.
Where do I start? Start exactly where you are (I say this all the time, btw). What I mean by this is, you don’t have to be a writer. You don’t have to be well versed in journaling. This exercise is all about taking a moment to write down your feelings. Have you ever tried to explain something to someone only to find out you didn’t have the words?Journaling is about finding the words you need to say to yourself.
How does journaling help with mindfulness? Its quite simple, journaling allows you to put your thoughts on paper. As a result, your mind is allowed to clear itself with unnecessary clutter. Which in turn will help with your mindfulness practice.
Wait, meditation takes too much time, who has time for it. What if I told you, you can create a consistent meditation practice in just 5 minutes a day. Yup, you barely need any time. Meditation is the practice of resting the mind. **Insert meditation article here**Learn how easy it is to implement meditation with the book, 8 minute meditation by Victor Davich. Meditation has many benefits, Stress Reduction, Improves Concentration, Increases happiness, reduces aging. Heck, if meditation reduces or slows aging, that alone is worth it.
Focus on the task at hand. For some strange reason, everyone wants to multitask. But multi-tasking typically results in getting less done. How often do you begin a task only to be interrupted by your children, a text or an email? How long does it take you to refocus on your task? 20+ plus minutes is what studies show! 20 whole minutes to get back to your task, and if you are like me, you may take the rest of the day trying to finish. Or worse, forget what you were doing never to return. By focusing on a single task you increase your focus and get more done in less time. Check out this article about how damaging multi-tasking can be.
5. TAKE A WALK
Ok, I know I just told you to focus. What happens when you are unable to focus and your mind won’t stop racing. Your meditation practice is still in its infancy, you forgot to plan and you can’t remember all of the things you need to do. Sound familiar? Get up, put on your shoes and take a walk. 5 minutes, 10 minutes and hour, whatever you can spare. Take deep breaths (put your phone away, it defeats the purpose) and be present.
For a few minutes forget about all of the things that need to get done and enjoy the fresh air, feel the sun on your shoulders. Look at the birds and squirrels. Taking a walk allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper level and hit a “reset” button. Taking a quick break allows you to refocus when it is time to get back to work. By the way, I purposely posted an urban landscape walk. Just because things are hustling and bustling doesn’t mean you can’t find solace, quiet time and practice mindfulness.
6. BE PRESENT
Being Present is what mindfulness means after all. Put down your phone, stop checking emails for a moment, turn off the T.V. Sit back, watch your children grow right in front of your eyes. Watch them jump like there is no gravity. Watch them playing outside. Join in the fun, even for just a moment or two. Being present and in the moment allows us to see all that we have and actually enjoy it. I am guilty of this and so is everyone I know. Enjoy your dinner, chew a little slower, most of all just be present. Show up to life everyday! I guarantee you will find it to be enjoyable and the hectic calamity that we call life can turn into a beautiful show that is meant to be enjoyed and savored.
Mindfulness is about enjoying life NOW! Not tomorrow when you think things will be better. Life is happening NOW, right now, in this moment. Don’t let it pass you by!
Question: Do you already Practice Mindfulness? If so, let me know what you do and how it has improved your life and parenting. I would love to hear from you!