Just BE – 7 Tips for a Mindfulness-based Approach to Life

Do you multitask your way through life? Do you find yourself constantly making a to-do list or planning? Do you feel restless if you aren’t doing something? Do you think you don’t have time to meditate or engage in other self-care? Do you eat to keep yourself busy or from being bored?  If so, then you may have become a “human doing” rather than a “human being.”

The art of “being human” has been lost in the midst of our need for entertainment, distraction, and constant motion.  In fact, I just asked the people in one of my classes if anyone felt their lives were too busy and every person raised their hand.  And, although everyone thinks they are too busy, if you ask them to sit and meditate or do yoga there is often a resistance to it. So, we have quite the conundrum.  I can’t “be” because I’m too busy.

Here are seven tips to help you become human again.  Try them on a regular basis and notice how you feel.  You can start with just one and work your way up. Each attempt to come back to sanity will be a healing moment for your mind and body.

Do one thing at a time.  In other words, don’t multitask.  This doesn’t mean that you stop doing a lot of things but it does mean that you do them one at a time.  Your brain can only focus on one thing anyway so you’re doing yourself a favor. You’ll be amazed at the time you save by not having to go back over things you missed by multitasking.

Check your email, Facebook, and other social media at specific times during the day.  These technologies are fantastic but you need to put a frame around them.  Don’t constantly check them or you will always be a human doing.

When you’re waiting in line, just “be” instead of being impatient. I joke that I do yoga standing in the grocery line.  My favorite posture standing in line is the Tree posture. I don’t put my hands over my head but I do the rest of it (see picture on post).  The idea is that every time you have to wait (at the doctor’s office, at a red light, on the phone, etc.), you have a gift of time to just “be.”  You can sit and breathe and relax.

Take some time to meditate once a day.  I think Jon Kabat-Zinn, an author of many mindfulness books,  said it most succinctly. To have more time, you have to take someone of it for yourself every day. We really have more control than we give ourselves credit for.  Taking time to meditate is one of the best things you could do for yourself.  As a recent book title suggests, you’ll be at least 10% happier!

Make conscious transitions from one activity to another. We generally run from one thing to the other so fast we don’t consciously make decisions about how to direct our lives. When you finish one activity, stop and take a breath.  Consciously decide the next best thing to do.

Take a break every 90 minutes and take five conscious breaths. It is estimated that the average person experience 50 fight or flight responses a day.  In order to reverse the effects of stress and bring you back to balance as a human being (instead of a human fighting and fleeing), take a break and breathe.

Once a day, be grateful for being alive.  This is a pause that refreshes and puts you in touch with the miracle of your life.  Just once a day, acknowledge the blessings that you have.  You can walk, breath, eat, smell, laugh, cry, work, love, and just “be.”

In Sharon Salzberg’s book, Real Happiness at Work, she said that a friend of hers made up a motto for their meditation center that said “It’s better to do nothing that to waste your time.”  You might ask yourself how much of your addiction to busyness is really useful.

I hope you find some time to “be” and enjoy the moments of your life.