This is a guest post
I define myself as more spiritual than religious. Life offers opportunities to peer into the sacred every moment, and its infinite wisdom is present in the smallest of details, once you stop to smell the proverbial roses.
Simplicity proves challenging to process for everyone so used to living in the cloud, technologically speaking. We talk about how difficult it is to get enough sleep and remember something as simple as drinking water — even though we need it for survival, life happens.
Stop letting life be something that happens to you as a passive “object.” Humans forgot what living looks like, and so we carefully curate these creative lives on social media and face-to-face, never daring to say how we feel on any given occasion. Our diversity is brilliant and beautiful, as are the details in the world.
There’s so much sensory information to enjoy mindfully if you put down the devices and get out into the world. But before you do, read over these five tips I use daily to find joy in the little things.
Breathe Mindfully and Open Your Heart
Breathing is an innate, natural process we do from the moment we’re born, yet we have to remind ourselves constantly to breathe and calm down until a stressful moment passes. I think that’s the case because breathing is automatic to everyone, and no one is used to enjoying the simplicity of breath or how something could come so quickly in life.
Why be so suspicious? Why can’t life be that simple? Breathing is automatic — and I know I had automated everything else in my life, from answering text messages to paying bills
Focus on your breath mindfully and become aware of your body’s reaction to your different ways of breathing in various moods and situations. Instead of filling your chest, fill your stomach with breathing through to a slow count of three and exhaling through your mouth. Use a number that feels natural to your body.
You can also place a hand over your heart and say “ha” with whatever force you wish to use — this is a method of Qigong, which clears and opens your heart centre through sacred breath and sound.
Go outside and find a clean patch of Earth. Take your socks and shoes off and dig your toes deep into the soil — deep into the soul of the Earth and thus into your soul. In New Age circles and earth-based faiths, this practice is also called grounding, but it holds importance in many cultural traditions.
Earthing holds scientific merit with benefits to the body, too. When the body connects conductively to the Earth, grounding results in reduced pain and an altered number of circulating lymphocytes and neutrophils — ultimately decreasing inflammation in the body and boosting the immune system. While this conductivity happens sitting at your computer, it doesn’t compare to the mental, emotional and spiritual stimulation you gain from interacting with the physical Earth.
Chew and Swallow Slowly
At work, I’m known for sitting at my desk with my lunch. One hand shoves food in my mouth while the other picks and hunts at the keyboard.
Instead of shoving food into your mouth mindlessly, focus on chewing your food slowly — especially when you partake in a new dish or your favourite comfort food. Imagine all the senses you experience when sipping on a hearty chicken noodle soup, taking in the smell of antibiotic garlic and luxurious warmth from your soup cup — and on a subtle level, how the anti-inflammatory properties of the soup fight off infection, like the flu, to keep your body active and healthy!
Engage your five senses with food. Chewing more mindfully will also cue your body into feeling full, so you don’t overeat.
Plant a Mint Herb Garden
The smell of fresh herbs is one of my favourite things in life to enjoy! With a sunny window, mints are easy to grow for those who lack green thumbs — a window with morning sun and afternoon shade is best. Mint plants possess square stems and leaves that sprout opposite one another. Extend harvesting time by pinching off flowering blooms.
As soon as you touch lemon balm, your hands will smell like fresh lemon and not like fake yellow dye dish soap. From breakfast to dinner, sage, rosemary and basil are other types of mints commonly used in dishes, too. Add a little life to your indoor environment and enjoy the sensory experience of pinching off a few leaves as you cook, engaging the natural world in a modern way.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Starting a gratitude journal allows you to keep a record of the joy and thankfulness in your life. Make a list of three positive events from today and how these inspired feelings of joy in you. I started a gratitude journal last year, and my stress levels dramatically decreased as I learned to appreciate the little things in life.
In one study, participants who wrote down happy events at the end of the day experienced lower stress levels and a calmer mood. Remember, don’t write to rant — write about the underlying reasons for your joy, and reread your entries frequently.
When you slow down to appreciate the little things in life, it will stop speeding by. The sacred surrounds you in daily life — don’t be afraid to embrace it. Those big things that worry everyone so much are really just little things in the grand scheme of things. Put yourself on the path to living your life fully, happily and mindfully by following these five tips.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, and healthy living blogger with a fierce love for peanut butter and naps. She practices yoga regularly even though her husband doesn’t think it counts as exercise. Find more from her at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.