What is it? How do you become more mindful?
Becoming more mindful has become an increasing focus for people across America. Various media outlets have covered it, and how to live a more mindful life. Huffington Post doubled down on this by saying, “it’s not a trend, it’s a movement.” For those new to exploring mindfulness, it is the exercise of living in the present.
“Mindfulness. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand.” says Mindful.org
So how do we become more mindful?
Be conscious of your food choices.
It is so easy to eat mindlessly, without thinking about how our food was sourced, created and shipped to us. Vegans are inherently conscious when it comes to their food choices. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t fall victim to mindlessly consuming–let’s face it, tortilla chips are delicious.
So before you take your next bite of food, consider taking five seconds to think about the effort it took to get the food to your table. This simple exercise will allow you to appreciate your food, not mindlessly consume it.
Meditation can be intimidating. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to be on a beach, meditating for hours to find zen. For those exploring meditation, we recommend downloading the Calm or HeadSpace app, which both have seven-day meditation programs to ease you into the practice.
One trick to meditate more frequently is to set up a mental prompt to do so. Similar to how you brush your teeth when you first wake up, you want to set up prompts to meditate. One tactic that’s worked for me is to piggyback it on top of brushing my teeth. So, after I brush my teeth, I spend 3-5 minutes meditating.
But what if meditating isn’t for you?
If you find it hard to meditate, look for other opportunities that allow you to be present. Things like food preparation or exercise are great ways to flex the mindfulness muscle while accomplishing other tasks.
Put your phone away.
Being mindful means that we’re focused on the activity at hand, and devoting our energy to that task.
Managing our smartphone usage is critical for being mindful. Endless notifications and distractions that are enabled by social media and other applications are the enemies of mindfulness. In fact, scrolling through our smartphones can be some of the most mindless activities we engage in daily.
A simple trick to minimize your phone usage is to put it out of arm’s reach, even if just for a small, designated amount of time. For instance, I like to put my phone in my bag or on a different table while I’m at work, as this systematically allows for me to put more focus into the tasks I’m working on.
And it’s not just phones that can be a problem. According to recent Nielson research, Americans spend nearly 11 hours a day consuming media, with TV (still) being the biggest driver at 4 hours and 46 minutes daily. By adding in systems to manage our media consumption, we can cut out a lot of mindlessness and ultimately live a more mindful life.
At the end of the day, even little steps towards becoming more mindful can go a long way. These practices can help with coping skills, taking away stress, and adding a new level of appreciation to your everyday activities.
Let me know how you practice mindfulness by posting about this using the hashtag #MindfulVegan.