Be More Mindful in May

Mindful in May isn’t just a catchy title. If you put in the effort, this could be the month that you shift towards big, positive changes in your life. How? With mindfulness, of course.

Mindfulness is the state of being fully present in the moment, experiencing but not reacting to what you feel and what is happening. Amisha Jha, a neuroscientist known for her work surrounding the topic, puts it simply:

“Pay attention to your attention.”

Jha is fascinated by attention, working memory and how mindfulness can shape both, especially under stress. Through her years of research she has learned that practising mindfulness for 15 minutes a day, every day, for around 4 weeks has tangible benefits including:

  • Protecting our ability to pay attention during times of high stress.

  • Improving the quality of our attention over time.

  • A drop in reactivity along with an improvement in presence and compassion.

Mindfulness certainly sounds like an effective tool to have in your life. But remember, as Jha points out:

“Mindfulness is not just a concept. It's more like practice, you have to embody this mindful mode of being to have any benefits."

Get acquainted with mindfulness this month with these tips:

Make each moment a sensory experience.

Tap into your senses throughout your day. You’ll notice how much time you spend on autopilot. This is the quickest shortcut to the present moment. What are you hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling?

Observe your feelings and reactions.

Don’t just blindly feel your way through the day. Take time to notice your reactions to things people say and do. What feelings come up for you often? No need to judge yourself, just be aware of the emotional topography of your day.

Practice active listening in your conversations.

Don’t miss the experience of conversation. Speaking to other is a great test for your own presence. Are you really listening? Have you prioritised the conversation at hand?

Slow down and experience your food.

No one can escape the experience of eating (and why would we want to!). So settle into these parts of your day. Savour the smells, textures and tastes of your meals. Trust us, it’s worth paying attention to!

Allocate dedicated mindfulness minutes.

Mindful breathing, mindful walking, and body scanning are neuroscience-approved activities to improve your ability to be present and focused.

Find a mindfulness method that suits you. Choose whichever helps you sink into the present moment best and stay there the longest. The more you practice, the easier it gets to acknowledge distracting thoughts without getting caught up in them. Persist, and you’ll surely feel a difference!