Mindfulness focuses on making yourself actively aware of the present moment; both internally and externally. This can help you to cope with changes and stress as you manage your business. Here are 3 top tips to help you incorporate mindfulness into small spaces throughout the day.
In our last article, we introduced the concept of mindfulness and the role it could play in the wellbeing, productivity and creativity of independent professionals.
Now you’re hopefully interested in practising mindfulness. Maybe you want to reduce your stress levels, be rid of anxiety, bring back your creativity or just take more time to appreciate life. But where do you start?
Incorporating mindfulness into your routine needn’t be time-consuming or laborious. Take a look at our 3 top tips to help you introduce time for reflection right this minute; regardless of your schedule.
It sounds simple, but taking a moment to focus on your breathing can help to physically ground you in the present moment. Next time you’re stuck at a red light, sat on the tube or waiting for that elusive client to answer the phone – take the time to breathe deeply. Completely fill and empty your lungs with deep, steady breaths. While breathing you can count each breath, seeing how many you can fit into the time. You can look around you, watching your surroundings and the people passing you. Try not to focus on what’s coming up but instead on what you’re doing and feeling in that moment. Take the time to consider if there are any tensions or tightness in your body or mind.
While it might not sound like a lot, using this time when you would merely be waiting anyway can have profound impacts on your wellbeing. Focusing on your breathing can help you to remain calm, to readjust your mindset and give you time to consider how you’re feeling in the present. You never know, you might end up looking forward to the time spent in the coffee shop queue.
The modern world is full of constant distractions. Many of us are guilty of spending any breaks between work glued to our phones or computer screens. When we’re doing something we enjoy to relax, we’re often simultaneously checking out emails, social media and texts.
The next time you have some free time, even just over lunch, try to focus on and experience what you’re actually doing. Listening to music? Instead of allowing yourself to be distracted by something else, try to focus on the melody. You can focus on the emotions and thoughts you connect to the music, imagine colours and images you’d attach to the music. You can try the same when eating, reading or exercising. As well as introducing mindfulness into your routine, this strategy will help to build your creativity.
The life of an independent professional can at times be isolating. Ensuring that you leave your desk for a walk, even if it’s just around the local block can do wonders for your mindset. Walking without intention, with no aim or required distance can bring you back to experiencing where you are.
We constantly train ourselves to be on the move, always looking for the next contract, multitasking projects and generally being as productive as possible. We’re used to rushing about and continually thinking about the next thing. Encouraging mindfulness each day really just comes down to taking the time to stop, even for the smallest moment, to reassess your surroundings.
By doing so, we can become more aware of what we’re feeling, why we’re feeling it as well as just taking the time to enjoy life that bit more – without it impacting our busy schedules. Mindfulness isn’t an instant process and it will require some training to remember to take these moments to stop and focus, but the rewards to your wellbeing can be hugely gratifying.