On a recent holiday at Ekaanta in Haridwar, I found a young lady meditating inside the Serenity Hall one early morning, even before breakfast. We got talking and I asked her why she chose meditation to start her day instead of sleeping in late, and she said,
“You know, I used to think meditation and mindfulness were just a bunch of mumbo jumbo concepts. I mean, who has time to sit around and meditate all day? But then work started to get really stressful and I felt burnt out from work and my personal life. I knew I needed to make a change or things would just spiral down. That’s when I relooked at Mindfulness with an open mind, and realized it is more a lifestyle than just another hip trend. It’s not about being perfect or getting rid of all my stress, it’s about finding a way to manage it and live in the present moment. I’m so glad I found Mindfulness – or rather- Mindfulness found me just when I needed it .”
She was only 24 and already stressed in the first year of her first job!
Her story reminds me of the many Gen Z’ers as well as Millennials that I come across these days. They are so ambitious and have such clarity in their thoughts on what they want to achieve and how they will reach their goals. But I have also seen them set extremely high expectations for themselves, which leads to a lack of balance between their professional and personal lives, and eventually excessive stress and burnout.
I was really happy to see this enlightened girl recognize that pattern early in her own life, and explore mindfulness as an effective way to manage her behaviours and reactions better.
Have you also noticed how more and more millennials are getting into mindfulness and meditation these days? It’s because they see it as a practical way to improve their overall well-being; from managing stress to improving focus and productivity, and increasing overall happiness and balance in their lives. But what’s most intriguing is the fact that they take to mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling more because these practices are backed by scientific proof and extensive research.
Here are some of the ‘hip’ Mindful Habits that Gen Z’s practice every day:
- Choosing experiences over things: The Under 30s find investing in themselves very meaningful. For e.g. going to a luxury retreat with friends and family. But it’s not just about being in a new place, it’s also about how they approach the trip. Instead of rushing through each destination and trying to see as much as possible, they like to take the time to savour each moment; not just the sights, but also the people, the culture, and the food.
Many others like to hone their interests and take hobby classes for macramé, calligraphy, Zentangle, daily journaling or the latest version of contemporary yoga.
- Using Technology to practice daily: Many use mindfulness apps as a convenient way to be in touch with the practice. Some start their day with a chant or a mantra, set as their morning alarm. Some listen to soothing sounds during their work break to bring their mind back into a state of relaxation. There are others who listen to mindfulness podcasts on their way to work, and I know of someone who puts 5 alarms during the day to remind himself to close his eyes and take 5 deep breaths before resuming work. Some find online mentors to guide them in their personal and professional journey.
- Being honest about their feelings: Growing up in a highly connected and digital world, Gen Z’rs are more comfortable about sharing personal information and feelings. They are also more self-aware, expressive, and open to discussing mental health and emotional issues. Instead of bottling up their feelings and allowing negative thoughts to simmer, they externalise their emotions and thoughts to alleviate stress and make rational decisions.
Gen Z and Millennials see mindfulness as a way to be more present and engaged in their daily lives, rather than constantly being on autopilot or caught up in the fast-paced nature of modern society.
It’s amusing to see them share their ‘eureka’ moment, when they realised that mindful practices actually worked for them! Today they are taking the practice of mindfulness and giving it a fresh, modern twist. They are finding new ways of incorporating mindful habits in their daily lives.
And we are all here for it!