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Mama Mind: Seeking happiness? Try mindfulness. Here’s how

We live in an age of busyness and often deal with it by spending our time on autopilot. According to both research and common sense, this can affect our level of happiness. In fact, it is thought to make us rather unhappy versions of who we could potentially be.

So, how can we break the negative cycle? Is it possible to bring more consciousness and more happiness into our daily lives?

Unlike our animal relatives, we spend the majority of our time thinking about what isn’t happening right in front of us, especially as mamas. Our minds are constantly pre-occupied with things that have happened in the past, may never happen or are yet to come our way. In fact, according to research, we spend almost half (46.9%) of our waking hours this way, and putting ourselves anywhere but in the present has a negative impact on our wellbeing.

A great strategy to switch off autopilot mode is to invite more awareness into life by being MINDFUL.

Mindfulness is about consciously choosing to connect to the present moment and live in the now. When you fully immerse yourself in moment-to-moment experiences, whatever they may be, it calms the mind, brings a greater sense of clarity and positively impacts happiness. Simply waking up to the moment you’re in, and sticking with it, can be a real game-changer for wellbeing.

5 simple ways to be more mindful:

1. Use your senses

Tune in to your senses to connect to the present experience as fully as possible. Where are you? What can you hear? Taste? Smell? See? Touch? Whether you’re walking bub in the park or having a coffee, awaken your senses and notice how you immediately experience the beauty of the present moment.

2. Learn to wait

Practice mindfulness while you wait – for your toddler to wake up, for a friend who’s always a casual 15 minutes late, for the queue to shrink, for your name to be called, or for your newborn to finish feeding. In those moments when you’re forced to be patient or sit tight, ditch the scrolling and enjoy tuning in and noticing your thoughts and what’s going on around you.

3. Create MIMO’s

It’s really easy to intentionally introduce more mindful moments (“MIMO’s”) into your day. One simple way to do this is setting random timers on your phone. Whatever you’re doing when the alarm goes off, let the buzzer break your autopilot mode and bring you back into the present. Continue your task with a mindful awareness, keeping your focus on the activity, while immersing yourself in it fully.

4. Find a cue

Pick something in your daily environment or routine to act as a mindfulness cue. It could be an activity, a landmark, a piece of jewellery, a post-it note or a specific time of day that prompts you to live more mindfully every time you see or do it.

5. Try meditating

Download an meditation app (see the launch issue of Mama Disrupt® for a great list) and give a guided mindfulness meditation a go. Meditation is simply a way to train your brain to become more mindful, and tune out the noise. Practicing for a couple of minutes first thing in the morning is ideal. You don’t need to sit cross legged or meditate for an hour at a time – a chair will do just fine and the minutes will all add up as your practice develops.

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Annika Rose is a Wellbeing Scientist, Meditation Teacher and founder of  The Wellbeing Collective. She is passionate about mind health and wants to redefine what it means to live well. Her work focuses on increasing wellbeing and happiness by bringing the latest science to life and using evidence-based digital offerings to spark positive transformation. www.thewellbeingcollective.com.