Mindfulness. Something your friend who does yoga talks about. Mindfulness. Something your local spa (shout-out to Kneaded Relief!) writes a blog post about. Mindfulness. Something that, if given the chance, can radically change your life. I know. Big statement. Bear with me. Mindfulness.
Mindfulness. What is it? It’s bringing your awareness to the present moment. I know, I know, probably not helping clear much up. Mindfulness. It’s focusing on feeling the air travel through your nose, feeling it then passing down into your lungs. It’s letting the air sit there for a moment before allowing it to leave your lungs, rushing past your teeth and out through your mouth into the open again. Mindfulness. If you followed along and did what I just wrote, then congratulations! You just practiced mindfulness. When you take the time to focus on what it feels like when your foot hits the cold tile floor, when you feel the warm suds dance along your hand as you wash the dishes, that’s mindfulness. When you bring your awareness of the world around you, while accepting your feelings, thoughts, and the sensations you experience as they are, you are practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness doesn’t judge. Mindfulness doesn’t attach to any one thought or feeling. It watches as they pass by, like leaves on a river. Mindfulness.
Mindfulness. Knowing what mindfulness is is only half of it. It’s creating a mindfulness practice that takes the concept and makes it a reality. So. How do you create a daily mindfulness practice? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Take a breath
Sometimes, remembering to breathe can be hard work. Take a nice, relaxing breath. Remembering to breathe actually builds on itself. Soon you’ll be remembering to breathe far more often.
- Smile in public
Smiling, even when you’re down, can boost your mood. Feel the muscles in your face working as you grin. It can also make someone’s day if you smile at them. Who knows, they might even smile back!
- Spot your moods and how they affect your life
Doing something in two different moods results in two different outcomes. Take note, you might learn something that can increase your satisfaction with the outcomes.
- Feel your body… how is it?
Notice any aches or pains. Feel where the chair touches your body. Notice your posture or position. Tense your body muscles. Hold it for a moment. Then release. Feeling more relaxed? If you liked that sensation, I’d recommend trying progressive muscle relaxation. You can find an example script here.
- Eat mindfully
Think of the work that was put in to get the food onto your plate. Be grateful for the meal and really appreciate the food. What texture is it? How does it smell? What color is it?
- Notice when you are entering a new space
What color are the walls? Does the room have a smell? How does the floor feel underneath your feet?
- Let the phone ring a bit, breathe first
The phone then becomes a gift, a chance to hear your favorite song or chimes, and be mindful. It rings, you breathe. The person on the other end then gets a “fresh” you who’s present and here.
- When walking or driving a familiar route, notice something new.
If you’re driving, BE SAFE. Maybe a new sign you never see.
- Listen to your surrounding sounds.
The tap of computer keys, Netflix in the background. The birds outside the window, the busy street outside. Your own breath.
- Be kind, graceful and slower.
Notice how I used the word mindfulness so often above? I was hoping it would help you meditate and be mindful of the topic at hand. I know it helped me. Make an effort to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life and you will find yourself in better physical and mental health. For a full list of benefits of mindfulness, click here.