"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it." -- Thích Nhất Hạnh
Mindfulness is being in the present moment with total awareness, but we all know that doing that from moment to moment can be challenging.
Unless you make a concerted effort to stay in what I like to call the mindfulness zone, it's far too easy to get distracted by a myriad of things that divert our attention daily.
So how can we stay more mindful, rather than constantly be at the effect of the stimuli around us?
I've devised a mindfulness memory method to help with that, and here's how it works:
1. Put a Post-it note on the mirror where you wash your face, shave or brush your teeth in the morning that says: "Make time for mindfulness."
2. Set a timer on your phone (with a soothing tone) to remind you to be mindful throughout your day. It can be as often as every 10 minutes if you want.
3. Have a mindfulness buddy -- someone you can check in with about your mindfulness progress.
4. Make a mindfulness date with yourself, which is a time in your day when you do something devoted to mindfulness. It could be taking a walk, eating a quiet meal, meditating, etc.
5. Watch a show or movie, and afterwards, write down what you remember about one particular character. It can be the color of their hair and eyes, the sound of their laughter, their demeanor or even how they made you feel. If you do this with someone, compare what you both observed about the characters you picked.
6. Cook a meal. With every ingredient you use, smell it and allow yourself to appreciate what's going into creating the meal without rushing.
7. Take a bath or shower before you go to bed. Close your eyes and think about the most mindful moments of your day. Try and do this as often as you can. It programs your mind to expect mindfulness as a way of being.
By making an effort to be more mindful, mindfulness will become second nature for you, and with time and practice, you will need fewer reminders to do it.
The goal is to live a life of mindfulness, where each moment of awareness naturally flows into the next.