Unplug and just “be” – be in the moment. Take 5-10 minutes and disconnect from life as usual. Connect instead with your self, God, and your surroundings.
From the time we get up until the time we go to bed we are running. Even when it is time to relax, our thoughts and minds are bombarded with all the things we should have done, should be doing or must do.
We try to block out all the internal and external noise by spending time on media sites, posting, texting or by zoning out with TV or video games. We go to bed exhausted and get up with little rest.
Unplug and take a timeout
When our kids were young and they got too exuberant in their play or started fighting, we would put them in a time out for 5 minutes until they could calm down.
As adults, we are no different. We keep up a demanding, relentless pace until we are so stressed we can no longer function. And when we try to relax, our thoughts continue to keep us stressed. Before that point is reached, quick short timeouts can calm both our minds and our bodies.
Take 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day. With all the things that need to get done, this may seem like a ludicrous suggestion. But in the long run, you will have more energy and be able to accomplish so much more.
It may be the most important 5-10 minutes of your day.
Maximize those minutes
Choose times when it isn’t disruptive to your job or others and walk away from what you are doing. This isn’t a time to socialize. You want to be alone. Go outdoors if possible or find a quiet, restful spot to sit. Because we are constantly in a “doing” mode, it may take a while to become comfortable just “being”. But it will soon become normal and natural.
Now focus on your breathing. Are your breaths short and shallow? Take deep, calm even breaths that come from your abdominal area. Pay attention to each breath – in and out – slow and even. Notice that as you slow your breathing, your whole body begins to relax.
As you develop the skill of calmly breathing in and out, you will begin to relax wherever you are, whether at your workstation, waiting in line, or driving in traffic.
Our minds are programmed to be doing something: finding solutions, solving problems, etc. So, at first, your mind will wander to all the things you want to accomplish on your “to do” list. Simply acknowledge whatever thoughts come into your mind and then re-focus again on your breathing. Don’t try to force thoughts away.
If your thoughts are persistent, imagine a beautiful box next to you. “See” yourself putting all the things that require your attention into that box. Put the lid on and tell yourself you will get to each one of them. Then re-direct your attention to your breathing.
When your breathing is even and your body relaxed, turn your attention to your surroundings. If you are outside, notice the sky, the clouds, birds, the warmth or chill of the day. What do you see and how does it make you feel?
What do you smell: the scent of flowers or freshly mown grass or simply fresh air. What colors are there? Are there birds flitting about. Become aware of their songs and actions.
Notice little things you would typically walk by, such as a bug crawling on a plant, a spider’s web, the movement of tree leaves.
If you are walking, notice the texture of the path, the shapes of bushes and tangles of roots and scent of pine needles.
Soon you will be amazed at how much you notice for the first time and how refreshed you feel.
This is so simple, yet we resist the urge to sit still and be in the moment.
We are so busy rushing around.
This is mindfulness – being in the moment – not the past – not the future – but right here and now in the present moment.
When you are in the here and now, your mind is not regurgitating all the problems or things that have gone wrong, what you should do, haven’t done, or are incapable of doing, feeling helpless, stressed, and frantic or whatever.
Mindfulness quiets the mind – giving it a rest. It takes you away from obsessive rumination of the past and anxiety about the future.
And it just takes 10-15 minutes. It is a mini-vacation that you can take during the noon hour or at the end of the day or as you get up from your desk and walk around for a few minutes.
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