Week 1 Lifestyle Challenge: Time for Yourself
No doubt you’ve heard about the importance of mindfulness in managing stress and enjoying your life more fully. You may even be sick of hearing it, rolling your eyes at its mention or wondering how in the world you’d ever have time to do such a thing. With our hectic, and demanding schedules, many of us have lost the ability to be present and fully aware of the moment. Mindfulness is simply that – being aware, in the moment, of where we are, what we’re doing, and what’s going on around us.
The ability to focus your attention and tune into your body can be an especially useful practice in all areas of your life contributing to better health and an overall sense of well-being. Most of us live our lives thinking about the past or the future. We see everything we do as a means to an end. The end is where we want to be, it’s in the next moment, in the future. As you’re making a cup of coffee in the morning you really want to be drinking the coffee. As you are showering in the morning, you’re already at the office thinking of the work you have to do. In this way, many things we do are just a means to an end, but the end is always in the next moment in the future which never actually arrives, because all we ever have is the moment we’re currently in.
Mindfulness is simply that – being aware, in the moment, of where we are, what we’re doing, and what’s going on around us.
While you may doubt your ability to slow down, to be more aware and focused on the present moment, mindfulness is actually something you already possess. It is also a skill that can be developed through practice. It is best understood through your own experience of it. You can’t just read about it or seek to have a conceptual understanding of it . You must experience it for yourself. You can only know what mindfulness is by being mindful.
What is your lifestyle challenge?
Give yourself 10-30 minutes everyday that is just time for yourself. No devices present. This isn’t time to get something done this is just time for yourself to not work and not be distracted. Just being with yourself for 10-30 min.
Strategies for making it happen:
- Simple Breath Observation :
Accessing the present moment (being mindful) is as simple as asking yourself the question, “Am I still breathing?” The question directs your attention to your body and breath and you suddenly become aware of yourself breathing. In that moment, you have accessed the present moment, you have become mindful. You can do this at any time, anywhere. In less than one minute, you can refocus your attention and pause the constant chatter in your head.
If you have a little more time, and would like to be guided through a breath observation practice, check out this video. This is one way you can begin to practice mindfulness through the observation of your own breath. It is exactly 6:38 minutes long. If you find it helpful, great! If it’s not really your thing, that’s cool too!
A mind/body scan is exactly that – taking a moment to observe any physical sensations,
thoughts, and emotions that are present for you. This technique can really help to increase your self-awareness which can also help you make connections between how you feel and what you do. It can take 5 minutes or less. During the mind/body scan you will tune into your own experience by asking yourself these questions:
What sensations do I feel physically in my body?
What emotions am I feeling?
What thoughts am I thinking?
- Sit quietly observing your physical environment and what’s going on around you.
- Listen to music that moves you in some way.
- Sit with your coffee, sip it slowly, deliberately being conscious of its taste and temperature.
- Go for a walk without earbuds in and pay attention to your surroundings. See if you can do this without labeling the things you see.
- Enjoy the meal you’re eating and really notice its taste and texture.
- While you’re in the shower, feel the water running over you, smell the fragrance of the soap, become aware of all your sense perceptions.
- Practice yoga by going to a local studio or finding a youtube video to follow along.
- Put your fucking phone down.