The Art of Mindful Living
I attended a workshop on Yoga a few years ago in connection with International Day of Yoga. Mehbooba, the master, taught us some simple breathing and relaxation techniques. She gave the participants an important insight on why we must practice some form of yoga every day. Most of our worries, anxieties and stress arise out of our thinking of what has happened in the past and the uncertainty of the future. Our mind is constantly shuttling between the past and the future with the result that we fail to live in the present moment. Past is something that has gone by and we can't change it. The future is something that is going to happen and will happen. But we are mostly worried because we do not focus our attention on what has to be done now. In simple words, we fail to live in the 'Present.'
The Covid pandemic has accentuated the crisis in families with people bombarded with information about lack of oxygen cylinders, vacant beds, ICUs etc. The more they read such news or information shared on social media the more they start getting worried.
Here are some tips to develop mindfulness in daily living:
1) Plan the activities for the day in the morning itself. Keep a diary to note down the tasks to be done at home and at what time. Have a separate section for tasks to be done at office (or work from home).
2) The tasks have to be broken down into simple parts- such as writing a draft proposal, sending follow-up emails, calling prospective clients, team discussions on an issue etc. This enables us to have clarity and plan each activity applying our mind.
3) Optimise social media exposure and TV news time-attending to important messages or updates. Ideally one hour of social media time would be sufficient on a busy day.
4) Be in nature -exposure to nature even for 15 minutes a day can be helpful. Go out in the garden and watch the plants, flowers or fruits or if there is a park nearby, spend some time there.
5) Give importance to physical fitness- people describe fitness as a situation when an individual is free from disease. However, it is quite misleading. You are fit only when you don’t feel fatigued or exhausted at the end of the day and remain fresh till you fall asleep. Fitness is when you feel energetic if you have to suddenly climb the steps because the elevator is not working. Fitness can be ensured by half an hour of simple stretching exercises and aerobic exercises even at home. Or a one hour walk or 15 minutes of jogging and this can help us deal with stress of continuous hours of sitting and working.
6) Try to connect with friends and family members- pick up your phone and call a family member or friend you haven’t talked to for a long time and there is nothing more happy than sharing happiness or concerns with someone we know closely. Most importantly ensure quality time with family members- children,spouse, parents keeping aside work or other external concerns.
7) It is usual for people to devote some time for prayer in the evening after lighting a lamp or candle. Lighting a lamp or candle is supposed to bring positive energy in the surroundings especially, now when going to a temple, church or mosque may not be advisable due to pandemic spread.