Have you ever become “lost” while working on something? A craft, a painting, learning a new skill? I can work on a graphic, changing the positions of objects, paying attention to the colors I have chosen – I can do that to the point of losing track of time. I am caught up, distracted. Before long, I realize that my breathing is shallow, my focus is totally on the project and my back is starting to tense up. That’s when I remind myself that I need to practice a little mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness is not paying attention to what you are doing, but paying attention to your body and breath as you are doing it. Mindfulness is being aware of your surroundings, noticing how you feel in the moment and checking in with your emotions from a non-judgemental viewpoint. That’s easier to do when you are caught up in something you enjoy than when you are in a place that is not as comfortable. That’s why practicing mindfulness is important – it can actually shift you from one state to another.
Mindfulness can ease your stress
Taking a moment to check in with your emotions, breathing and body can help with stressful situation. Close your eyes, take a breath and then feel where you might be tense. I have a tendancy to tighten my shoulders or clinch my jaw without realizing it. Taking that moment to notice how I feel “here and now” gives me an opportunity to relax my shoulders and jaw and just “be”.
Take a break or set a reminder
Even if you are lost in the moment , you can still check in and take a moment to just be aware of your surroundings and how you are feeling. Being mindful is a practice and not necessarily innate however, to make it more than just a “once in a while thing”, it can become a really good healthful habit. Here are some few suggestions:
- Setting a timer as a reminder can be helpful to this practice. I set an old-fashion kitchen timer for 45 mintues and take a break when it rings.
- When I notice that I have been in the same position for a while, I get up and walk around, stretch, take a few breaths.
- Make a practice of having a certain time every day to sit quietly and just breathe. I usually go outside and look up and around for a change of scenery. If you have a place to take off your shoes and stand in the grass for a moment, it will re-connect you to the earth. I know that sounds a little “woo woo” but it truly helps to remain centered and mindful.
Practicing mindfulness enhances your creativity. Stepping away physically or metaphorically will enhance your art or your work so that you can make what matters with more connection and awareness. Now, take a moment (in this moment) and just breathe and tell me some of the ways you practice mindfulness…