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The Best Gift of the Summer: Active Mindfulness.

Are you looking to practice mindfulness in your everyday life? Here is a simple way to give yourself the gift of being more mindful at home, work, or anywhere this summer.

Summertime is associated with slowing down for much of the population. I do not fall into that demographic as a mother of three children in various sports and activities! Summertime can become an extremely stressful time of year, especially if I am not actively pursuing mindfulness. It seems like a contradiction, yet it’s proven immeasurably helpful. Here is one practice I use amid the madness called “Summer Break” to give myself the gift of the moment.

Getting caught up in the tornado of life swirling around you at Mach speeds is so easy. Yet I have found that when I am in those high-pressure situations, I make decisions based on the moment's emotion, not on what truly aligns with my life. It rarely ever works out for my best.

It has taken practice and many mishaps to recognize when I’m in those high-pressure rushed situations. Remember my three kids; they each have voices (loud ones) and opinions, wants, needs, and a laundry list of comparisons and complaints. All are coming at me simultaneously. It’s a lot. I love them wholeheartedly, and it’s still a lot. Couple that with my mind's tornado of wants, needs, comparisons, and complaints – eye yi-yi!! I have practiced recognizing that pressure, permitting myself not to make any decisions for at least one moment, and implementing the following steps to bring myself back to myself in the moment.

1. Pause. Take a deep breath (close your eyes if you’re able/comfortable). Many times, I announce: “I need to pause.” It helps signal everyone around me to do the same.

2. Clear ALL thoughts – for a minimum of 30 seconds (believe me, that will feel like forever when you are in the tornado of your mind). Focus on your breathing rhythms, whatever they may be; no specific pattern is necessary. Imagine, as you breathe out, you blow away the tornado of thoughts.

3. Open your eyes if closed. Look around you. Ground yourself in the present moment. What are your senses picking up? How is your body feeling overall? Where are you holding tension? Are you able to release that tension?

4. Bring your focus to one affirmation or one thing you are grateful for now. Reflect on that. Soak it in. Find yourself here in this moment. Enjoy the gift.

5. Now, how can you respond in a way that is most in alignment with your life?

Sometimes I can process this in 90 seconds, other times; it takes a bit longer! I allow myself the time. Part of the pressure is self-inflicted by putting a time limit on ourselves. The reality is that unless you are in a true life-and-death situation (whereas this practice would not apply), many decisions can wait at least 5 minutes, if not longer.

Give. Yourself. Time. It truly is the sweetest gift of the summer!

For additional support, feel free to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session below.

cover photo credit: Oleksandr Canary Islands

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