I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this is some fluff piece about how we would all be better off if we took the time to meditate, journal, reflect, drink green juices and do yoga all live long day. Then we would all be happy beings with big emoji hearts in our eyes, without a care in the world.
And maybe you'd be right, maybe this post is exactly about that.
But does it really sound all that bad?
No, of course, it doesn’t. The bad part is it doesn’t exist. Or it can’t because this is the new tech world where no one has the time anymore to be self-indulgent.
There are bosses that have us by the smartphones. There are kids activities that have infiltrated weekends, leaving family time that space between soccer, LAX, and baseball (it's called carpooling). And forget about home cooked meals... are you for real??
We’re all living in this madness and we’re all losing our sh*t because of it. Parenting is the new reality nightmare because of social media, and job security is being handed over to artificial intelligence as we speak. In order to make it, we either have to be scrappy and hustle our way through life, or we become one bad-ass renegade and reclaim what is rightfully ours.
Like living a more peaceful life with less stress. That’s all most of us want. And to be a little more happy doing it.
There is simply too much info out there influencing our society, our environment, our thoughts, our behaviors, our moods and even our daily habits. (Check Instagram much?)
In the wise words of Ice Cube, come on and chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self.
Slowing things down so you can appreciate and enjoy life a little more doesn’t have to be this super self-indulgent practice where you lock yourself away for days, digging into your emotions and journaling your way through a lifetime of past experiences to unearth your meaning and purpose in this world. Banish such indulgences!
What we can do, starting today is something less intensive while still being effective and insightful.
It can take up to as little as 10 minutes a day. That's it. And the benefits are ten-fold that! For reals my dear, for reals.
We're all busy, but we can all find 10 minutes to slow it down. If not for ourselves then for our kids. Just think of the positive influence you'll have on your children when you do this. Their worlds are sooooooo much different than ours were way back when. It would benefit them tremendously to learn how to sit down and quiet the mind. If they can learn coping strategies from you, just think of how better off they will be in 20 years when technology is so advanced we'll be walking around with computer chips inserted into our brains, and no one ages!
There is something tremendously useful to getting your kids in on the action, or just letting them see you do it. I get my 7-year-old to sit with me once a week for three minutes (well I sit, he flips and flops, looks this way and that - but he's quiet! And he's learning... because once in a blue moon he sits, palms placed on his knees with his eyes closed... for about 10 seconds. That's a BIG WIN where I come from!) I do this so I can teach my very anxious son how he can help himself when he begins to feel overwhelmed.
So why not help ourselves to a practice that is free, takes minimal effort (sitting and closing your eyes) and can transform our perceptions, moods, and reality? It’s worked for millions of people for thousands of years and I truly believe that if you feel overwhelmed with life, this one little practice can help you appreciate, slow down and enjoy more of what life has to offer you.
It may sound crazy but when you get into the habit of doing this, things seem to happen, or align, or balance out. I’m not sure how to describe it. But there is an energy behind it and once you get into the flow, the flow extends outward and things that seem coincidental are actually more serendipitous. It’s as if you created it. (Am I getting too far out there? I could be… but it’s truuuuuue!)
So let’s cover the strategies that are going to easily set you up so you can have your own practice that will allow you to become mindful, aware, and present in the moments as they arise in life. We need to know how to implement the action to really make a difference, so I'm giving you three strategies you can use today to get you sitting down and letting that sh*t go.
Step 1: Create your space.
This is a fun one! I love having a little space, and a little ritual, when I go to sit down. And trust me, I don't have a lot of space. I'm crunched between my bed and my closet and I sit on my bed pillow. But to make it feel a little bit more special, I light a candle that I keep by my bedside. It makes me feel like this is something more than plopping down on the floor and closing my eyes. You can decorate your space with anything that makes you happy. Maybe you have a favorite little knick-knack that you got on a fabulous trip somewhere that's just collecting dust up on a shelf. Pull it down and place it in front of you. Incense is also a fun thing and can really make you feel zen. I also play calming meditation music which helps me focus, and if I can't focus, then I just sit and listen to it. Any way you decorate your space it will be perfect and suited to you so have fun with it and make it feel special!
Step 2: Know your mantra.
I ain't gonna lie, thoughts are going to be zipping through your brain like wildfire! You're not going to be able to shut your brain down and you'll meander your way through your to-do list for the day, what needs to be made for dinner, what time do the kids need to be picked up and isn't it time for their dentist check-ups? Oh shit, I need to turn my brain off.
Here is where your mantra comes into play. Go back to it. Repeat it in your mind, and breathe. In and out. In and out. And don't stress over your mantra either. Keep it simple. Say "I'm grateful for all that I have" and repeat that.
Step 3: Remind yourself it's a practice.
You're not going to be perfect at it from the get-go and you may not even feel the utmost benefit from it right away. You may walk away from the experience feeling a little underwhelmed. If you need a solid reason why you just "wasted" 10 minutes of your life then realize there are things going on "under the hood" that you're not totally aware of. Like how you just calmed down your sympathetic nervous system (which triggers anxiety, depression, tension, and fatigue), and geared up your parasympathetic nervous system that helps regulate your breathing, slows down heart rate, and decrease your blood pressure. You're also flooding your cells with life-giving oxygen.
There is always more going on beneath the surface than we realize so even though you may not have swept away your worries or anxieties, relish in the fact that your body is appreciative and relaxed. That's worth more than the running around and list making you could have done with those 10 minutes.
Using these steps to create a practice that can change the way you see your world is a worthwhile cause, and a necessary one as this world is only going to get more crazed, more busy, and more overwhelming. It’s best to have a trick or two up your sleeve to help keep it all in check! And you can do it pretty much anywhere, even if you're sitting in your car in the pick-up line you can practice stillness and breathing.
Becoming mindful will provide benefits, you just need to be accepting and patient, and they will come.
Now I would love to hear from you! Do you have a daily practice? Or are you trying to stat one and you haven’t been successful? Leave a comment below and let me hear what’s working, or not working, for you. I’d love to help, and sometimes sharing can bring about a little clarity!