1.) Exercise without music.
Exercising with headphones is supposed to keep you motivated and positive about your workout correct? While I definitely do not disagree with this, I do think that it takes away from training yourself to be more in the present moment. Nobody disagrees that being mindful and in the present moment helps release stress, reduces anxiety, and also reduces depression, however, many people still struggle to see all the little tiny ways in which we are purposefully not being mindful.
Exercising with your music on in basically telling yourself that you can’t get up and go work out on your own. You yourself do not have the motivation and strength to go to the gym and complete an entire work out on your own. You need the help of your favorite artist or band. Whether it is Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Brittany Spears, Beyonce, The Beattles, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, or any other band or artist, you basically need their help to finish your workout.
There is no problem in help, I definitely do not think help is a bad thing, but if you are looking for ways to really challenge yourself and become more mindful, then start exercising without your headphones. Really start learning about your workout routine and the way your body reacts to working out by being mindful throughout your exercise routine. Focus on the way you breathe, the way you sweat, how often you get tired and need some water. This will help you become more mindful and will definitely help you relax and feel like you achieved much more than you would have with the aid of your headphones.
2.) Drive without music or talk radio.
Keep your windows down (when you can of course), preferably to just sit there, drive, and listen to nature. Feel the wind on your head, neck, and shoulders. Listen to the birds chirp, the wind blow past you, the car engines rev up, or any other noise that is in present moment. Listening to what you’re doing, even if it’s something as simple as the cars driving helps keep you in the present moment. You don’t need the radio to make noise to keep you calm or entertained, you are calm and entertained by the present moment. You are in awe of the present moment. Of the ability to basically fly down these roads in a speeding metal machine.
And every time you are in the present moment for one thing, even if it as simple as listening to the other cars driving next to you, you are training yourself to be in the present moment for other situations in the future as well…maybe more important situations too.
3.) Put your damn phone away!
Use this as a tool to be more mindful in your everyday tasks. For example, when you go to the bathroom, don’t take your phone with please! In today’s tech savvy world where everything is mobile and online, many people feel like they have to be connected every second of every day. We always have our phones out checking or doing something and we forget to pay attention to what we are doing in the moment.
Some of us can multi-task better than others and I am not suggesting that cell phones are bad or anything like that, however, if you are feeling more anxious than ever before, are feeling more depressed or stressed lately, feel like you are continuously searching for something and don’t know what, and are trying to find a way to help yourself become more calm and peaceful, then purposefully and consciously putting your phone away for more time than you already do and trying to become more mindful in our everyday tasks can be of great use to you in the process of self-actualization.
Also, keep your phone on silent or vibrate because if you don’t hear or see the call or text, it’s not the end of the world! Other people can wait if what they want to say is worth saying later on as well. This will help teach yourself patience as well helping you be more calm and mindful. At night, turn your phone off. Psychological research recently has equated some people’s overuse of our cell phones today to an unhealthy dependent attachment style. A recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found that female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while male students report spending nearly eight. The study also found that about 60 percent of study participants think they may be addicted to their cell phones.
The cell phone’s no longer just a cell phone. It’s become a part of our life and the primary way most of us communicate with each other. Even to the point of increased social anxiety and lessening conversational skills in person. Some of us may be able to relate to that panicked feeling we get when the family pet goes missing. Misplacing our cell phones feels the same way for many of us today, and those feelings of loss and hopelessness without our digital companion are becoming more and more natural today as well.
Put your phone away for a little while. Treat it like an addiction and start off little by little, baby steps, even if you are still in denial that it is an addiction. Just try an experiment with it and see how you feel doing those suggestions I posed to you above. If you are willing to do this and want to let me know how it went, please let me know below in the comments section or you can email me personally at GreekGuruGuy@gmail.com
4.) Get in touch with nature.
Talk a walk through the grass if you can with bare feet. Let your feet feel the grass and feel the ground. Connect with the earth. In our rushed and modern society we are used to always being busy. However one of the best ways to be mindful and focus on yourself is to simply take some time out and reconnect with Mother Nature. Feel awe inspired by the magnitude and majesty of the morning sky, the stars at night, the vast and amazing ocean (or lake if that’s all you got), or even become amazed at how long it might have taken some of those trees in your neighborhood to grow to such heights.
Become amazed at how this earth came to be. Ponder how large and vast earth really is, and how amazing it really is. Appreciate the rain drops as they fall. Become mindful of nature. Take a walk in nature and think about how that meditative exercise makes you feel. Focus on your breathing and on how your body feels as you move it. Heck, even a walk to the grocery store or round the block where you notice only a few trees and can only see the sun and sky a little bit because of skyscrapers can become mindful walking if you focus your mind as you do it.
5.) Turn off the TV!
Television is like the cell phone. It is a screen that entertains us and takes us away from reality for a little bit, however, even the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association agree that kids under the age of 2 should have no exposure to a screen at all!! That means no Barney or Sesame Street for little Johnny of Amy when they are young and crying their eyes out and you have to pay bills or fix dinner. Not even those supposedly “educational” DVD’s and shows for babies are you supposed to let them watch. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero hours of TV for the first 2 years at all. Then after that they suggest minimal amounts of TV anyways, but I use this example as a way to show you that too much television is not good for us.
Television dulls us. It slows us down. Sometimes we need this, but it’s up to you to realize if it’s becoming a problem in your life. Turn off the television and play a board game instead. Just sit there and talk. Plan things in your day that incorporates turning off all electronics and just being with other people, or just sitting there and being with yourself. In my work I have heard people mention how hard it is sometimes to just simply sit there quietly and be there with themselves and their own thoughts. At first it may seem awkward, but in the long run it will be extremely beneficial.
6.) Rise and Shine
Being mindful starts from the minute you wake up every morning. Before you jump out of bed to get on with your day take some time to focus on the environment you are waking up in and the sensations of the world around you. Many people find it helpful to wake up and immediately jump into doing some light stretching or yoga poses to get their day going well. This can help increase blood flow and also helps calm you down and puts you in a happier mood.
Some of us wake up in the morning and immediately feel stressed by thinking about what we have to do that day or simply by dreading going to work. If you feel like this, start your day off with some positive affirmations. Tailor them to your life and to your troubles. Many people who use affirmations start off feeling like what they are doing is really stupid. That’s completely normal! Keep using them though. Some of my favorite affirmations are “All is well”, “Every day in every way I am getting better, better, and better”, “I am happy, healthy, calm, confident, successful, and motivated”, and “Thank you.” Being in gratitude of the good in your life is extremely powerful. Also, be careful how you use affirmations.
Scientist and spiritual leader Gregg Braden believes that how we use affirmations, or what we think about, is what we manifest in our lives. If you say and think to yourself “I can be happy and healthy” then you will manifest nothing into your life because all you are saying is that you can be happy and healthy. If you say “I want to be independent and successful” then you will only manifest a consistent wanting in your life instead of actually manifesting success. Be mindful and aware of the thoughts you think and the words you use, because they are very powerful. Another spiritual leader that can help you with affirmations if Louis Hay. Look into her and her books and cd’s. Also, Dr. Wayne Dyer has written a lot on the power of manifestation and how to manifest what you want in your life. Take a look into him as well. He also quite often has television shows on public broadcasting stations such as PBS.
If you start your day in a mindful day then you will start it calm and relaxed, and you will find your days are calmer and happier.
7.) Enjoy Your Food
Many people are so busy and don’t take the time to relax that they wolf down their food, and a vast percentage of the population even eat their lunch at their desk whilst continuing with their work at the same time. Eating at its core is something that should nourishes us. It gives us energy and nutrients that keep us alive. Treat it as something that is nourishing then instead of something that we just have to do in between other daily tasks. Treat your food and the time that you spend eating with respect and as a time that is meant to replenish you and give you vital energy.
Try to eat more mindfully. When you are eating it should be the only thing you focus on. Taste your food, savor every mouthful, and experience the flavors and textures you may never have experienced before.
Namaste. Peace, prosperity, and love to all.
-Greek Guru Guy