If you’d like to get more enjoyment out of life, it’s easy. Just pay closer attention to it! It’s called “mindfulness”. Being in the here-and-now, without brooding over the past, fretting about the future, or making judgments. Mindful people feel more awake, alert, and alive. They also have less stress, less fatigue, better health, happier relationships, higher self esteem, and more stable moods. Mindful people also find it easier to lose weight. Because they’re better able to tell if their pangs are real hunger – or just cravings stemming from boredom or stress. So, here’s how to become more mindful. We found these tips in Women’s Health magazine:
- First, meditate. Experts recommend starting with 10 minutes a day. So, sit comfortably – no slouching! - and become aware of your breath. Then observe your thoughts, sensations and emotions – without analyzing, finding fault, or trying to suppress them. It teaches you to focus on the moment.
- The next “in the moment” tip: just observe. If you were walking through an open-air market in Paris, you’d feel more alive. Because you’d be noticing new smells, sights and tastes. So, find an activity that grabs your interest, like gardening. Notice the dirt, smells, the texture of the plants, anything that keeps you grounded in the moment. It’s what athletes call “being in the zone”.
- You can also learn to enjoy activities you dislike just by paying attention. Researchers recruited people who didn’t like either rap or classical music. When they listened to tapes, some were instructed to notice new things, and others weren’t. The result? The more new things people noticed, the more they ended up liking the music!
- And there’s a bonus: By becoming more interested in what you’re doing, you also become more interesting. When orchestra members were asked to find new ways to interpret a symphony, the audience rated their performance more satisfying than when they merely played the same piece by rote. If you’d like to go further, check out the book: Mindfulness by Ellen J. Langer.