Meditation doesn’t have to be all affirmations and chanting because there are plenty of ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine – without it being boring, complicated or time consuming either. Here, wellness coach and meditation teacher Ashley Hunt talks us through five simple ways to be mindful every day, to help boost productivity, reduce stress and anxiety, and take control of your health.
Take a deep breath
This might sound simple, but the truth is, as we move through our day we forget to breathe properly. When we are busy, we get into the habit of breathing shallowly into our chest. What we should be doing instead is breathing deep down, into the belly. Try it now and I guarantee it will be the first time you breathe properly all day - place your hands on your belly, take a breath and try to only let the belly, not the chest, expand. Pause at the top, then exhale fully.
Instead of constantly thinking about what you are going to do next, be right where you are right now. No matter how mundane the task, try to enjoy it instead of constantly looking forward, or thinking about the past. Whether you are ordering your morning coffee, waiting for the printer, washing the dishes, stay in that moment and try to find pleasure in the mundane.
Watch your thoughts
Whether you are chatting with friends, spending time with family or in a work meeting, try to see if you can monitor your thought patterns. When your mum comments on your love life, is your first instinct to get annoyed? When a friend shares good news, do you instantly feel jealous? When your boss lectures you on minor mistake, do you become defensive? Simply observe your thoughts to understand the thought sequences you have developed. This will make you self aware and will allow you to respond to situations instead of reacting to them.
Sit in silence
We are so used to being overstimulated these days that it is difficult to just do nothing. See if you can simply be with no form of entertainment. This can actually be intimidating for many of us, so start slow by trying not to pull out your phone while you are on the bus or while you are waiting for a friend. Just sit and be.
We’re always trying to do so much before realising that we are not actually getting anything done. To improve the quality of your work and get more done, focus on one task at a time. Juggling screens is the worst kind of procrastination, preventing you from taking in information accurately. Make lists to correctly prioritise tasks, switch your phone to airplane mode and ignore emails while trying to get important jobs done.