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Look around and you will find many mentions of mindful living. From magazine articles on newsstands to the “New Releases” section of the bookstore,

Stephanie Sarris mindful living

Stephanie Sarris of Bellehaven Design

mindfulness is a current topic of discussion. While it seems like the latest thing to come out of the frantic pace of our modern world, the concept of mindfulness has been around since the ancient Greek philosophers.

So what is mindfulness? It can include a formal meditation practice or coincide with quotidian activities. Simply losing yourself in the present moment, whether that moment is enjoying a sunset, reading an absorbing book, achieving an excellent Vriksasana (tree pose) in yoga class, or even washing the dinner dishes, if done with focus and intention. Mindfulness is living in the present moment, free of the thoughts and emotions tying us to past events and anxiety about future events. It’s living moment-by-moment, experiencing the world through our five senses in the here and now.

How to be More Mindful at Home

More succinctly: Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. (To learn more, visit: https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/)

When we are mindful, our work improves as we focus more on the task at hand and less on the deadlines. Our relationships improve as we listen to our loved ones without queuing up the next comment we are going to share. When driving, we focus on what’s happening on the road, rather than on the agenda when we arrive at our destination and we arrive safely.

With mindful living’s potential to improve our experience of living, why not design your home to encourage its formal and informal practice?

Three Ways to Encourage Mindful Living Through Home Decor

1. Designate a room or space for formal meditation practice. Keep the room simply furnished and uncluttered. A comfortable chair is the only required piece. There are many formal meditation centers where you can take some classes on meditation. Or, the iTunes store offers a plethora of guided meditations. I love some of Kelly Howell.

2. As curiosity is a natural part of being mindful, does your home encourage engagement? A stack of books on interesting topics, or a beautiful music collection played on an excellent sound system would encourage my curiosity. What are your interests and how can you surround yourself with their artifacts?

3. Pausing to enjoy nature’s beauty is another way to anchor your attention to the present. Do you have comfortable seating in your garden to view the sunrise or sunset? You will not regret making the time on a relaxed weekend morning to view the sunrise with a cup of coffee. Then you can carry that beauty and relaxation into the rest of your day.

Thank you to Stephanie Sarris of Bellehaven Design for this article. Stephanie is a Hinsdale-based interior designer.

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