We’ve said it before: everyday slow. That’s our thing. In other words, we try to make time daily (or whenever possible!) for the consciously present, slower moments by purposefully structuring parts of our days to allow for a sense of calmness.
We caught up with Abby Farley, a yoga teacher empowering people to improve their physical and mental health through her teaching, to learn her favorite tips for living more presently and how to incorporate mindfulness into our daily practice. Here’s what she had to say...
1. Bring awareness to your breath
Breathing is second nature to us, as it should be, but we quickly forget that we are doing it. Your breath can be an anchor for you whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Take 30-60 seconds to close your eyes and feel the ride and fall of your breath as it grows deeper. You can even practice the 5-5-5 technique that is known for calming the mind. Simply inhale for 5 seconds, hold your breath at the top for 5 seconds, and let it go for 5 seconds. Repeat as needed.
2. List 3 things you’re grateful for
As hard as it can be to shift your mind to the positive when you’re feeling negative, it can actually flip your emotions like a switch in a matter of minutes. No matter the day you’re having, take a moment to list 3 things you are grateful for and lucky to have. This can be a person, a feeling, an experience you had that day. Doing so helps you to notice MORE good and appreciate what you have right now in the present moment rather than longing for more.
3. Call out your emotions
One of the keys to living a mindful life is becoming aware of your thoughts and how your emotions were triggered. This helps to control your reactions towards others, allowing you to think before you speak as they say, and even helps you to accept your feelings for what they are. Start by asking yourself “where is my mind now?”, and observe whatever comes up without judgement. When negative thought patterns are creeping in, call them out. Calling each thought by its name whenever they appear creates distance between you and them, which will help to avoid getting lost in an unproductive thought spiral. Next time you notice these thoughts arising, try greeting them out loud: “Hi jealousy! Hello worry! Hey doubt!”
4. Notice the grounding sensation of your feet against the floor
Similar to breath, we can use the feeling of our five senses to bring us into the present moment. When your mind is overflowing with thoughts, it is so healing to ground yourself. You can do so by simply sitting on the floor when you need a break or standing still first thing when you get up in the morning and feeling the connection of the surface beneath you. By bringing your attention to your physical experience, you become more physically present, which in turn helps you to act more mindfully towards your surroundings.
5. See the people around you as human beings rather than characters passing through your story
Everyone has their own worries and current life situations on their mind at all times. We all have work to do and families to care for. One of the easiest and often most overlooked ways to live mindfully is to realize that other people are busy with these things too. Whether it’s someone you’ve known for years or someone you just met at the grocery store, each person you interact with has their own stresses and even victories filling their heads. It‘s easy to hyper focus on what could be going better for ourselves and forget that there most definitely are other people out there who are going through something similar. The next time you run your weekly errands, notice the people around you and imagine what their day looks like or what they might be thinking about. When we practice this mindful technique, our worries become smaller and we appreciate others more for who they are and the emotions we share.