Steps to Mindfulness

My late Father worked harder than any man I know, he probably worried more than any other man I know as well. When he was working on the farm he craved some leisure time playing sports, when he finally played sports his mind raced with all the incomplete jobs on the farm.

Of course finally death beat him. Six months after he died, people were still phoning him to ask for advice or assistance. He never completed EVERY thing and none of us can.

Being present is the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. 

Live in the present. The idea of being mindful — being present, being more conscious of life as it happens — may seem contradictory to those who are used to sacrificing living for pursuing their goals, but cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more. In fact, you’re more productive when you’re mindful.

By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Even things you might think are boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it; wash dishes, sweep or cook with love and remain fully present. It takes practice, but it’s incredible.

1. Do one thing at a time.: You should Single-task, don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to spread yourself by checking your emails on the phone, texting your friends at the same time. I often wonder if our “perfect parent moments’ are only the few seconds it took to snap a photo on our mobile phone and post it on Facebook! Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, instead of rushing that task. Take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task. Cook with love and kiss with feeling. Put your children to bed like it’s the last time you’ll do it; with feeling, with connection, with gratitude,

3. Do less. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next, without stopping to think about what you do. Prioritize, learn to say and schedule FREE time for all your family.

4. Add some spaces. Learn to manage your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. If you think it will take a an hour, schedule 2 hours, to allow for traffic, slow moving kids or late-comers to a meeting. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

5. Stop worrying about the future – focus on the present. Are you constantly worrying about the future? Learn to recognize when you’re doing this and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment. It doesn’t mean you pay the future no attention, but schedule that planning into your life, don’t let it flow over in your daily task.

6. When you’re talking to someone, be present; listen. Do you really listen to someone speaking to you or do you half listen, concentrating on what you are going to say next? Try to focus on being present, using empathy, and clarifying what you don’t understand. You will really enjoy communication.

7. Eat slowly and savour your food. Food can be scoffed at a furious rate, but where is the enjoyment there? Be aware of the textures of your food, the spices, aroma and flavours. Savour each bite, slowly, and always try to get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well. Your body will thank you!

8. Live slowly we all end up in the same place. Life is so precious, a miracle we are here to begin with. It ends far too soon, so don’t be in a rush to reach that end. Don’t run the traffic lights, don’t honk your horn, allow others to pull up a smile and a wave in front of you. You haven’t lost anything by being the second car on that particular road, in that particular moment.

9. Make cleaning your work space or home a meditation. Having a clean workspace is necessity for my mental health. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness and can be great rituals as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate and do them slowly and completely. Breathe, consider your progress and breathe. Be aware of every breath in your body, the beauty as it enters your lungs and be thankful, truly grateful for the privilege of being alive.

Michelle Bailey
Coach and Director EMEA Business Development