Mindfulness for the Busy

You are always busy. There isn’t much downtime in your life. Work is nonstop. You still want to spend time with your family, get to the gym and have a social life on top of everything else you already do.

But you keep hearing all this stuff about that mindfulness buzzword and the benefits it can have on your brain. You take a look at your calendar. When would you even fit mindfulness into your schedule?

The question isn’t really about when do you slow down and fit in mindfulness. It’s more about how do you even begin to believe that you can slow down?

And what does slowing down really look like for you? Does this mean you have to give up the busy career and lifestyle that you’ve worked so hard to build?

What if you didn’t have to give up anything? What if you could easily fit mindfulness into what you are already doing?

Mindfulness is a state of being present and having non-judgemental moment to moment awareness. Medical studies show that mindfulness has an impact on stress levels and depression. It can boost memory and reduce emotional reactivity, among many other research proven benefits.

Mindfulness is less about stopping the thoughts in your mind and simply becoming aware. We’re human and our brains are made to think. Turning off thoughts is impossible.

For some, meditation and yoga are thought to be where mindfulness is cultivated.

But mindfulness can occur outside of these two activities.

Below you’ll find 3 suggestions to weave mindfulness into activities you are already doing. No need to add more to your to-do list!

Mindfulness Exercise: Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is an activity we do once, twice or sometimes a few times per day. The next time you stop into the restroom to brush your teeth, pay attention to the entire process. Notice how your toothpaste tastes. How does your brush feel moving over your gums? Watch the foam bubble up in your mouth. How do your teeth feel after the brushing? Paying attention to the small details of a daily task is something on which we rarely focus. This is an act of mindfulness.

Mindfulness Exercise: Eating

When we’re busy, we’re often on autopilot when it comes to meals. We rarely even taste our food. During your next meal, take a few moments to look at your food. Before taking the first bite, smell your food. Does the smell bring back any memories? Does it make you salivate? When you take that first bite, chew slowly. How does the food taste? What flavors and textures stand out? Notice the sound of your chewing. Pause to completely swallow your food before taking the next bite.

Mindfulness Exercise: Walking

We’re walking somewhere – whether it is off the subway to our office or from the parking lot to the coffee house. Instead of zooming from place to place, look around you. What are the colors of the buildings? Listen to the sound of your shoes on the pavement. Feel the impact of your foot hitting the ground. What aromas fill the air? Is the temperature cold or hot? Are there other people or cars around you? Notice the movement of the environment.

Jenny Dempsey is currently the the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. She has worked at tech startups since 2005. She's the co-founder and regular contributor over at CustomerServiceLife.com. She's a certified health coach, but not the kind that forces you to only eat cardboard and deprive yourself of ice cream. JennyDempseyWellness.com, the company she started, was designed to bring a new type of wellness into the workplace, one that gives you permission to look deeper into yourself, rather than just on the healthy snacks in the break room. She is the mother to a toothless rescue cat named Chompers. Avocados and veggie tacos are the way to her heart. She's also a Hanson fan for life.

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