This is a collaborative post.
Mindfulness is a very popular term these days, and seems to encompass everything from the way in which you eat your meals, to specific meditation practices, and the degree to which your house is cluttered versus de-cluttered.
While there are different ideas that fall under the general “mindfulness” banner, the basic idea of mindfulness is that you should be actively engaged in whatever it is you’re doing at any given time, and should really “experience” life as much as possible, rather than drifting through each day in a distracted haze.
With that being said, here are a few tips for living in a more mindful way.
Take up hobbies that you can fully absorb yourself in
There’s a big difference between the kinds of hobbies that you can really dedicate your full attention to, and simple pastimes and forms of leisure and relaxation that don’t have that same degree of depth.
As a general rule, the vast majority of us these days spend a very substantial amount of our total waking hours “killing time” in the form of casual web surfing and TV watching. Suffice to say, though, neither of these activities really lend themselves to mindfulness.
To spend your leisure hours in a more mindful way, take up hobbies that you can really, fully, absorb yourself in. Research boats for sale and take up sailing or fishing. Or, get involved in some woodworking. Or how about learning a musical instrument?
The basic rule of thumb is that you should be able to get totally lost, in a focused way, in whatever it is you’re doing.
Disconnect yourself from the constant noise and information flow of modern life
The famous Norwegian explorer and writer, Erling Kagge, believes that things are just way too “noisy” these days, in general.
According to Kagge, the only real way to experience the true depth of life, is to detach yourself from the constant chatter, and actually immerse yourself, intentionally, in different activities, one at a time. And, importantly, to find regular moments for “silence.”
The modern world is marked, largely, by a never-ending flow of information that keeps our attention jumping back and forth perpetually without ever getting a moment to settle.
Find regular opportunities to turn off your electronics, and filter out some of that perpetual background noise.
Do one thing at a time
At its core, perhaps, the idea of “mindfulness” is really about doing one thing at a time, and giving that thing – whatever it is – as much of your undivided attention as possible.
Research has found that when people try to “multitask” their stress levels rise, their attention dwindles, and they become less effective at whatever it was they were trying to do.
More than that, though, trying to divide your attention too much simply means that you don’t really engage with, or experience, any one thing very deeply. After all, how much are you really enjoying that meal of yours if you are watching a film and having a conversation at the same time?
Wherever possible, focus on doing one thing at a time.