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A month of mindfulness: 5 tools for transforming your mind

by Melinda Jennings on Wednesday 9 May 2018

 

Mindfulness is more than just a current fad or catchy title. It’s been proven to be an incredible tool for transforming your mind, allowing you to better control your emotions, feel happier, reduce stress, and fine-tune focus – just to name a few benefits.  


A lot of people are still put off by what they see as a complicated practice, but mindfulness doesn’t have to be a huge effort or an overly complex thing to master. We’ve put together 5 tools you can start putting in place straight away to become a more mindful person. There’s no need to try and tackle all 5 at once – just go at the pace you’re comfortable with. Every step (no matter how small) is still one closer towards greater mindfulness. 

1. Learn how to meditate
Let’s get the most obvious – but not necessarily easiest – one out of the way first. Meditation is a key component in being more mindful, but it does take practise. It’s not something you just sit down and automatically know how to do. It’s something you need to actively learn. 

You can do this by finding a meditation course near you, or investing in some books, apps or other resources around it.  



2. Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine
You don’t have to have an hour of peace and quiet available to start practising mindfulness (because, let’s face it, who has that luxury all of the time?). You can easily focus on becoming more mindful while you’re going about your day-to-day routine. 

Brushing your teeth, driving to work, eating breakfast, taking a shower – all these mundane activities provide an opportunity to snap out of autopilot and become more aware of what’s happening around you. Focus on all the elements of what you’re doing – seeing, smelling, tasting, etc. – so you’re truly in the moment and not letting it pass you by.

3. Keep it short
In case you haven’t noticed, it can be hard to focus on one activity for an extended amount of time. Don’t be too harsh on your mind (especially when it’s still in training), and practise being mindful in short, effective bursts of time.



4. Use that waiting time effectively
Waiting in line at the supermarket? Counting down the minutes until the train arrives? Usually waiting time is synonymous with scrolling-through-social-media, but what if you used these opportunities to make a positive impact on your mindfulness? 
Instead of being frustrated and feeling like you’re wasting your time, focus on your body. Concentrate on where there might be tension. Take deep, slow breaths. This will not only help to calm you, but also get you in tune with your body, which is a key component of being mindful.

5. Remind yourself with prompts
In order to train yourself to keep being mindful, choose some sort of prompt that you regularly encounter which can remind and refocus you. It might be a sticky note on your computer desk screen, an alarm that goes off on your phone, your coffee cup as you get a top up, or the sound of someone using the photocopier in your office. Whatever your prompt is, it should act as a pleasant reminder to be aware of your surroundings and stay present.

These tools are a great start for anyone who wants to improve their mindfulness. It takes time, practise, and patience, but it’s well worth the effort. Start implementing them into your daily life and you may be surprised how mindful in May (and beyond!) you can be.  


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