For those who don’t know me, I tend to overthink… a lot. My mind just never shuts off and unfortunately, these thoughts aren’t exclusively positive thoughts. Concerns with no validity whatsoever pop up and cause havoc, epic unnecessary havoc. When you add this natural overthinking to an already packed schedule of day hustles, night hustles, and side hustles, it’s imperative to find multiple pills of the “chill” variety or as buzzword-prone self-help coaches call it, mindfulness. That’s right, mindfulness.
I call it learning to live in the moment.
Curious if this is another H-Forman cliche, my equally aggressive millennial compatriots? Nope, it actually exists! Mindfulness can be defined as the state of total self-awareness in the present moment by somehow, someway turning the mind off (or at least dimming the lights). With endless distractions, most of which involve bottomless mimosas, mindful practices in our Yuppie lives are really hard to come by. Good news is, the barrier to entry is ridiculously low, and you won’t even have to follow Deepak Choprah on Instagram.
Below are ideas, old and new, now ingrained in my routines. Also, in true millennial form, I’d be lying if I said I consistently stick to these habits. Like my opening lines at the bar, I’m probably batting .300. Does that batting average change my life? No, but it sure does help.
Here are 5 ways you can continue to hustle your face off, while also staying mindful.
1. Be in the moment with Improv
Recently, I stepped into my first Improv class alone without the faintest clue of what the hell was about to happen. Five minutes later, I’m yelling at the top of my lungs about everyone’s favorite animal: “casual bears’ and I was hooked and immediately joined the Improv community out here in San Francisco. Before Improv, I had so built up creative energy hidden in a cupboard buried beneath the earth (and an endless splurge of emails). Now, it’s back out and replacing my everyday concerns with absurd shenanigans, ridiculous dialogue, and goofy skits. Improv takes you lightyears away from your comfort zone; it’s almost therapeutic in a strangely fitting way.
If you started today, search “Improv class drop in” and go to a class by yourself.
2. Enjoy the moment with a grateful diary
Right next to my bed, I keep a handy-dandy Moleskine notebook and use it for one activity: grateful diary. Every night before I go to sleep, I write down three parts of my life I’m grateful for. It could be the wine at my date the night before, a great note from my boss, Justin Bieber partnering with Major Lazer, really anything! This keeps me grounded, so when random bits of my life don’t go as planned, I can still realize how lucky I am. Most of the “issues” I experience are clearly #firstworldproblems, so the grateful diary basically helps me realize my nouveau life in San Francisco, CA is actually pretty damn chill.
If you started today, buy a Moleskine notebook and avoid Notes on your phone.
3. Be stress free with meditation
As crazy as it sounds, I try to meditate every morning during the week (weekends, well, there are distractions). I’d be lying if I told you I’m a master meditator two months into this practice, but I am certainly starting to reap the benefits. During stressful situations, practicing meditation, breathing exercises, and sporadically repeating Goosfraba help maintain mental clarity. Although a bizzilion thoughts still race through my mind during mediation, meditation has helped me realize it’s perfectly okay to have a ton of these thoughts. The goal is to ultimately train the mind to know what to do with them, prioritize the good over the bad, and calm down for 15 minutes in my day (ideally moments after waking up in the morning).
If you started today, download the app Calm and start with the Twenty Days of Calm playlist.
4. Practice mindfulness with yoga
Growing up with a yoga teaching mother ironically led to me…never trying yoga. Crazy how the stubbornness kicked in back in the day. Well, I’m an adult (most of the time), and decided to give it an old go a few months back. I’m all in. Yoga is great because you work on the mind, body, and soul. Meditation, you clearly work on the mind, and hitting up the weights certainly works on the body, but Yoga is the one practice that brings it all together. Does my Downward-Facing dog need a lot of work? Absolutely. Do I schmooze with the teacher a bit too much? Probably. Doesn’t matter, I’m doing yoga and loving it every “flow” of the way.
If you started today, download the app Zenrez and find a deal for an All Levels Vinyasa yoga class near you.
5. Live in the now with some hoops
Okay, I may have won two JCC championships in my heyday, a 3rd place finish in the 3-point content, and a “Most Improved” award at overnight camp, but I’m by no means a “Baller.” At this age, I’m either bricking or banking, and lately, I could probably build a house. Still, I found an isolated court two blocks from my house to occasionally go shoot some hoops for 20–30 minutes after work — an ancient practice from childhood. It’s great to get away from a monitor, a desk, a desk with a monitor, and views of hundreds more of that same exact setup. Stepping on the court is step one, yelling “Butter” after draining a runner is step two, and the rest will be history. Best advice here: keep it casual. Go with the relaxing lighthearted mini-game such as On The Boards, Around the World, or my favorite, the penultimate balance of creativity, athleticism, and spelling: H-O-R-S-E. No matter your choice, Ball will still be life, folks.
If you started today, pull up Google Maps and just swipe around your neighborhood for patches of green.