Some of us, and possibly most of us, act according to the patterns we have created for ourselves in the wake of our daily routine. These patterns often make us work like robots, not stopping to think about our actions. This repetitive thoughtlessness also affects our immediate reactions to people, reactions such as anger or fear, and if you want to learn how to regain control of your life, you may want to try the Mindfulness Technique or "attentive awareness." This technique, originating in Buddhism, was brought to the modern world in the 1970s by psychologists and is now used even in educational settings and kindergartens around the world. Here are five moments and methods in which Mindfulness can help you.
Most of us get out of bed automatically, without a major thought in mind about a goal we want to achieve, and this gives the brain legitimacy to act subconsciously. When this is the case, all of our decision-making processes are done without conscious intention, but rather the intention our mind creates. However, you can completely transform yourself if you do something to change this. Mindfulness will help you control your words, actions, and reactions, especially when you need to show compassion for others. Do the following before looking at your phone when you wake up.
1. When you wake up, sit back in bed in a relaxed position - close your eyes and connect to the feeling of sitting on your bed. Feel your backside on your mattress, your weight on it and its softness, and all the while making sure your back is straight.
2. Take 3 deep breaths from the nose and exhale through the mouth - then let your breathing catch a natural rhythm and listen to it. Try to notice the movement of your body in your breathing - how your chest and stomach rise and fall.
3. Ask yourself, "What are my intentions today?" - To answer yourself, think about the people and activities that are waiting for you that day. Do you want to make others remember you better? Do you want to be more relaxed during interactions with others?
4. Set a goal for the day - Such as, "Today I'll be nicer to myself, be patient and more generous to others, and most importantly - I'll enjoy the day."
5. Check yourself throughout the day - Stop, take a breath and remind yourself again of your goals. If you do this every day, you’ll notice that your mood will improve and so will your relationship with the people around you.
It is easy to be distracted while eating and just chew and swallow, but eating is supposed to be one of the most pleasurable activities for us, so it is highly recommended to do it with complete awareness. When you eat attentively, you can enjoy an enriching and satisfying experience and not only bring nutrients into your body. In addition, you can control the amount you eat more easily because each bite will become significant and important to your brain. Do the following the next time you eat:
1. Breathe before eating - We usually go from one task to another without stopping to breathe, but before you start eating, you should stop, calm your mind and let yourself enter into a conscious eating state. Breathe comfortably, take 8 to 10 slow breaths, and then move on to the next step.
2. Listen to your body - After breathing, devote awareness to your body and especially to the feeling in your stomach. Ask yourself how hungry you are and rate the answer on a scale of 1-10. In addition, ask why you are hungry; Is your stomach empty? Are you bored? Try not to think about the last time you ate and just listen to the physical sensations of your body.
3. Eat according to the feeling of hunger - Now that you are more connected to your body and understand your hunger, you can choose what to eat and how much.
4. Eat calmly - Don’t try to finish your meal as quickly as soon as possible, rather eat slowly and breathe deeply between each bite swallowed.
5. If you aren’t enjoying your food, don’t continue - Take the first 3 bites in peace, feel the taste and texture of the food and think about how much pleasure you experience from what you chew. If you don’t really enjoy the food, stop eating it - you will find that when you do this, even candy can become less attractive.
The busier our lives are and the more things we’ve been through, the harder it is for us to fall asleep at night. Thoughts flood our heads and give us no rest, but there is a way to fall asleep quickly and easily with the help of Mindfulness. Sleeping attentiveness has also been proven to be useful to almost everyone, and is done with the help of guided imagery during the process of falling asleep.
Click here to learn how to fall asleep more easily.
Experts estimate that 95% of our actions during the day are done on "autopilot" in a process controlled by the "fast brain". The neural connections in the brain control our habits and do it so efficiently that it is hard for us to stop and break habits, or even make us go back to old habits that we’ve already rid ourselves of. Mindfulness is exactly the opposite - it is a process that slows down the brain and gives us the ability to control it instead of it controlling us - we activate the "slow brain".
The more we do this, the more our sense of control in the brain becomes stronger and new habits are created, but there is a small problem. While the "slow brain" is good for us, the "fast brain" still wants to make us use its shortcuts. Therefore, we must remind ourselves of our control by following these actions every day:
1. Create an environment that motivates action - If one of your goals, for example, is to stretch more during the day instead of sitting in front of the couch and just watching TV, place an exercise mat in the middle of the living room.
2. Make changes in motivation for action - The tip above will help you for maybe a week, but then the "fast brain" will make you go back to the old habits which will be hard to resist. This is why you have to refresh the way you invite yourself to act in awareness, for example, instead of putting the exercise mat in the center of the living room, hang a note on the TV that says "10 minutes of stretching".
3. Create new patterns for action - Come up with some mantras in the format of "If X then Y". For example, if you want to walk into your house relaxed and smiling after work, repeat the mantra "If there’s a door to the house, then smile," or if you are stressed when you have to make phone calls, "If you have to make a call then take deep breaths." Any such intention to action will help you be more attentive to yourself and activate your "slow brain.”
Nothing is more bothersome than traffic jams. The idea of being late for work or getting stuck in traffic for hours causes the "fight or flight" mechanism to work, so some of us become "crazy" on the road and suddenly do things we wouldn’t think of doing in more relaxed situations. The worse the traffic jam, the more stress we have, however, they are, in fact, the perfect time to try some Mindfulness techniques that will calm and balance us and change our perspective on our current situation. Here are some tips to help you be more attentive to yourself and relax during traffic jams:
1. First, take a deep breath - It sounds trite and simple, but taking in a lot of oxygen does help to reduce the stress levels. As you breathe, remind yourself that your choice of actions is yours and that you choose to act calmly.
2. Ask yourself what you need - The feeling of stress may not come directly from the jam, but indirectly from it, and in fact what you need is a sense of security, relaxation or relief. When you understand what you lack, you will know exactly what you need to provide yourself.
3. Give yourself what you need - If you need peace and quiet, try to think about what you feel in every part of the body and find where your muscles are tense and stressed. If you need a sense of security, remind yourself that even if you don’t arrive in time for work, everything will be all right. If you are fifteen minutes late you can stay 15 minutes later in the office to make up for it.
4. Look around at other drivers - Everyone on the road wants to feel safe, peaceful and happy, but not everyone is successful in that. So, try looking for drivers who look like they understand how you feel, and then look for people who seem to be coping with the traffic jam successfully, they are the ones singing in the car or even smiling. When you see them, you will immediately feel better.