Mindful ways to improve your awareness
My question to you is: Is it “business as usual” this year? Is everything working the way you’d like, or are you making changes?
Many of us are hoping to fulfill numerous plans – wanting “more” and “better” in the job, health, money and/or relationship departments. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting “better” and “more” in these areas, the pursuit can leave us feeling like a dog chasing its tail. It can be exhausting!
Author, speaker, and mindfulness coach Diane Sieg says that becoming more mindful of how we proceed through our day is the antidote to feeling like we’re running in circles. “It’s so easy to be on auto-pilot in your life – procrastinating or not getting enough sleep or exercise,” Sieg says. “Mindfulness is about being more present and aware of your behavior in each moment. It can help you change habits that are no longer serving you.”
Sieg, who is also a registered nurse and a yoga instructor, has made it her mission to help others slow down and “stop living life like it’s an emergency.” “Working in the ER for over 20 years, I saw the effects of stress – the diseases and injuries that resulted from it,” Sieg explains. “With today’s stress levels, we need mindfulness in our lives more than ever.”
Through her online programs, Your Mindful Year and The 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge, Sieg provides step-by-step guidance and support around living life with more calm and awareness. She suggests these 7 tips for bringing more mindfulness into your life:
1. Meditate. Taking even just 5 minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of your day.
2. Focus On One Thing At A Time. Studies have found that tasks take 50% longer with 50% more errors when multi-tasking, so consider “uni-tasking”, with breaks in between, whenever possible.
3. Slow Down. Savor the process, whether it’s writing a report, drinking a cup of tea, or cleaning out closets. Deliberate and thoughtful attention to daily actions promotes healthy focus and can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
4. Eat Mindfully. Eating your meal without the TV, computer or paper in front of you, where you can truly taste and enjoy what you’re eating, is good, not only for your body, but for your soul as well.
5. Keep Phone and Computer Time In Check. With all of the media at our fingertips, we can easily be on information overload. Set boundaries for screen time – with designated times for social networking (even set an alarm) – and do your best to keep mobile devices out of reach at bedtime.
6. Move. Whether it’s walking, practicing yoga, or just stretching at your desk, become aware of your body’s sensations by moving.
7. Spend Time In Nature. Take walks through a park, the woods, mountain trails or by the beach – wherever you can be outside. Getting outdoors is good for body, mind and spirit, and keeps you in the present.
As you pursue your goals, I hope you can incorporate Diane Sieg’s tips for more mindfulness into your life. You give yourself a real gift when you can remember to take things one step at a time and savor each moment.
Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book “This Is Not the Career I Ordered” now in the 2nd edition, and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Director of Career & Professional Development at the Indiana University Alumni Association and contributes to AOL Jobs, CNN Money, the British online magazine –The Rouse and More Magazine online. She is producing a webisode series calledThrive! about career & life empowerment for women and she hosts the international podcast series Your Working Life – check it out on iTunes. Follow her on Facebook,LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.