Mindfulness was a watchword of the 2010s, but even as we plow through the 2020s in earnest, some people are still seeking to bring this approach into their lives.
"Mindfulness," as we use the term, is a state of being in which we're eminently present in the moment, aware of our surroundings, and able to be proactive rather than reactive. It's certainly something worth working towards, whether for personal or professional benefit. As we begin 2021, don't let any more time go by—take these tips for living a more mindful life.
The road to mindfulness begins with the most basic thing we do. As you inhale and exhale, take time to think about the action and mechanism of breathing. Be aware of the simple fact that you are breathing, and pay attention to your lungs as they expand and contract. The purpose of what seems to be such a basic exercise is to make sure you take nothing for granted and realize that it's great to be alive.
Vigorous exercise, not on the treadmill but out in fresh air, can help you stay connected with nature and decompress from the stress of a workday that's very much not taking place in fresh air. Devoting yourself to a workout helps you be in tune with your body and be aware of your surroundings. Next time you work out, don't just go through the motions—resolve to think about the air or water around you, pay attention to the feel of the ground beneath your feet, and even the light and heat of the sun (or lack thereof).
There are many levels of reading that we can undertake as we open a book. For many of us, we don't progress beyond simply skimming, or reading the words from the page without letting them paint a mental picture. Quite often, we don't even take time to think about the lessons a book is trying to impart to us. Reading is one of the most mentally and spiritually nourishing activities we can do, but it's not enough to simply read from cover to cover. Try applying a study method to daily Bible readings, or seek out instruction for deeper reading strategies from Mortimer Adler's landmark How to Read a Book.
Swear off Social Media
One of the best tips for living a more mindful life is to cut out the noise—the noise of social media. Though we've relied on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to keep us connected in isolated times, the house-of-mirrors nature of our virtual world combined with the sheer overwhelming amount of social media content can rewire our brains to make us much less mindful. Consider taking a week or more to detox from this simulacrum of our world and get in tune with the real one.