Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Now you might be thinking, “Isn’t mindfulness just meditation? That’s not really my thing.
While meditation is a way to practice mindfulness, it’s not the only way. Mindfulness is actually just being present. It’s living in the moment right now! It’s not focusing on the past nor the future. It’s just taking time to check in with yourself and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, senses, and accepting whatever you’re experiencing at this moment in time.
Mindfulness offers endless benefits to your mental, emotional, and physical health. In fact, practicing it regularly has been clinically proven to do the following:
• Lower stress
• Balance emotions
• Reduce anxiety and the symptoms of anxiety disorders
• Improve sleep
• Lower blood pressure
• Reduce chronic pain
• Treat depression
• Prevent signs of aging
• Improve brain function
• Break Bad Habits.
• Combat addictions
• Promote a more fulfilling and happier life.
Mindfulness packs quite a punch when it comes to improving your life! And the best part is that it can be practiced anywhere at any time. It can be practiced anywhere at any time! Here are 5 easy ways to start:
5 easy way to start mindfulness.
1. Name your emotions.
At any time of day, pay attention to the emotions that come and go and give a name to what you are feeling. You don’t need to understand them completely, but just noticing them and giving them a name can help you accept them, process them, and let them go.
2. Make mediocre tasks mindful.
Did you know things like taking a walk, showering, dusting the house, or even washing the dishes can be a mindful experience? Wherever you may be, take time to pay attention to your surroundings. Smell the dish soap, pay attention to how your body relaxes under the warm water, listen to the birds chirping while you walk the dog. Instead of going about life automatically like a robot, make your day meaningful.N
3. Observe your breathing.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself five minutes to do this exercise: sit or stand in a comfortable position, close your eyes, then place your hand on your stomach. Slowly inhale through your nose, focusing your breath on your abdominal muscles. Your abdomen should rise as you breathe in. Now exhale slowly through your mouth while your belly deflates and flattens again. Only a few minutes of this practice a day can reduce anxiety.
4. Sense those sensations.
Whether you are eating breakfast, driving in the rain, or walking past a lilac bush, use these moments to focus on your five senses. Savor the sweet taste of the syrup on your pancakes, listen to the pitter-patter of raindrops on your windshield, and take in that fresh smell of spring. Paying attention to what you hear, see, smell, taste, and feel can help you connect with the present moment, and gain a much greater appreciation for the remarkable gift of your body, and the world around you.
5. Be present with others.
How often are you texting or thinking about what you need to get at the grocery store when someone is trying to have a conversation with you? Next time you talk to a friend or even a stranger, be fully present with them. Notice their eye color, the sound of their voice, and the way they express themselves! Do they talk with their hands? Do they smile a lot? We often hear what people are saying, but we aren’t completely present with them. Try it and see how much deeper of a connection you feel to them.