Mindfulness has exploded onto the health and wellness scene over the last few years. From the publication of Eckhart Tolle’s famous book, The Power of Now, to an influx of apps offering guided meditation, it’s clear this ancient spiritual philosophy is undergoing a modern revival. While the world has succumbed to many hardships in recent months, there is plenty we can do on a personal level to boost our appreciation for the beautiful world around us. Here are 5 ways you can be more mindful, happy, and fulfilled this June.
Be in the moment
This one sounds deceptively simple, but it’s not! Our minds are prone to racing; we’re always thinking about our to-dos, worrying about things we might have forgotten, as well as entertaining thoughts from our past and projecting ideas about our future. It is hard to stop, be present, and simply exist in the moment. However, mastering this skill will bring you a lifetime of contentment. And this is far from a wishy-washy or sentimental practice, it’s science! Research from numerous neuroscientists shows that the practice of mindfulness slows down activity in our amygdala and increases connections with the prefrontal cortex. In human terms, this means we are less reactive to stress and recover faster when we do experience it. Meditation is perhaps the most effective and common way of achieving a state of complete and total mindfulness. There are different types of meditation, but one of the simplest ways to give it a go yourself is to sit down in a calm, tranquil space and spend ten minutes focus on your breathing while relaxing each individual muscle in your body from head to toe. With regular practice, you will see a big boost in your mood and a decrease in your stress levels.
Take a tech detox
There’s a reason we describe the modern digital world as ‘always on’; with our many smart devices and phones, disconnecting from the online sphere is difficult indeed. Of course, technology has huge upsides as it makes cross-continent communication possible and empowers the people by giving everyone a space to share their personal thoughts. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t draining at times. Social media, in particular, is known for its addictive nature. Oftentimes, we find ourselves picking up our phone again and again simply out of habit. Most people would admit they’d like to spend a little less time on their phone and dedicate more of their day to something that’s actually fulfilling. Just like with any bad habit or repetitive problem, taking a detox is one of the best ways to change your ways. Why not try ditching your phone for a day or two, or going a few weeks without social media? Do this and you’ll likely find that mindfulness naturally blooms in its place. You’ll notice the people queuing around you at the store rather than defaulting to scrolling through Twitter. Best of all, when you go back to using your phone, you’ll find it has far less power over you than it did before your detox.
Getting creative is an important and powerful way of expressing your feelings - whatever they might be! The important thing to remember about creativity is that it’s not limited by your skills or natural talents. You don’t have to be a stellar artist to enjoy painting or have a go at sketching still life. Why not try dabbling in some new artistic pursuits? It might be writing a short story, trying a new style of dance or even dipping a toe into the world of photography. Whatever the hobby of choice, you’ll find that the focus and emotional state of mind required for creating something naturally lends itself to taking pause and being mindful. Even psychologists have confirmed that there is a link between being more creative and an “upward spiral” of positive emotions. How’s that for a mood booster?
Gratitude is one of the most important and unique emotions we humans have, and it’s certainly one we should expressly regularly and in earnest. Before you start each day, try writing three things you are grateful for. These points can be anything from small to big. One day it might be the case that you’re grateful for a loved one, and on another you may simply be feeling thankful for the beautiful sunny day outside. Noting what you’re grateful for is a great anchor for your mind: it helps to keep things in perspective when your worries start to spiral.
Don’t forget to extend this feeling outside of yourself too. Tell the people in your life what they mean to you and remember that actions speak louder than words. If there is a special woman in your life (be it a wife, girlfriend, friend, sister, aunt or grandmother), gemstones are one wonderful way to show gratitude by gifting a present with some extra meaning. Rose quartz is a particularly lovely gemstone for a gift of this kind - that’s because of its deep association with love, harmonious relationships, and feelings of peace. It’s also connected with a strong sense of self-love, so this could also be a great piece of gemstone jewelry to treat yourself to.