Mindfulness Practice Guide
Today I will be talking you through our Mindfulness Practice Guide.
Have you ever drove somewhere and realised you don’t remember the drive? Or eaten something and it’s gone before you’ve really tasted it?
Have you ever blown up on someone and wondered where it came from? We tend to rush through life, living in the past or worrying about the future, instead of living in the moment and enjoying life.
I think that life is about the here and now. If we dwell on the past, we are missing out on what could be today.
If we spend all of our time worrying about or planning the future, we actually never get there. The future we want for ourselves will never happen unless we are taking steps towards it right now, today.
This is where mindfulness comes in. I’ve talked a little bit about mindfulness in some of my other posts, but I wanted to put mindfulness in the spotlight for once, because it can bring so much goodness to your life.
Other posts you may like:
What is Mindfulness?
To keep it simple, being mindful means remaining present. Despite the hectic nature of our modern-day world, practicing mindfulness encourages self-awareness, acceptance, and taking in the moment. It allows you to truly focus on what you’re doing right now.
Mindfulness stems from ancient Buddhist meditation teachings, but Jon Kabat-Zinn adapted the concept in 1979. Over the last few years, mindfulness has gained a lot of popularity. This may be due to more mainstream coverage, publications like Mindful, and the power of social media!
After doing some research, I also found that mindfulness is often used in therapy. This is because it’s thought to help with anxiety and stress!
Why is Mindfulness important?
On autopilot we are so busy doing that we forget to be aware and really live our lives to the full. We leave ourselves open to depression, anxiety and stress.
When we practice mindful living, we wake up from this dreamlike state and fully participate in life.
Now let’s go into the Mindfulness practice guide.
Mindfulness practice guide
How to practice Mindfulness daily
Before anything, remember to always be kind to yourself. It’s perfectly okay (and normal) if your mind starts to wander. Don’t let that discourage you!
Keep it simple. For example, you might be cleaning your room after a long day. Maybe work was stressful and it left you feeling burned out.
Take in the moment around you, fully. What do you hear? What do you see and smell? Notice the breeze coming from your slightly cracked opened window. What does the cool air feel like on your skin? Take a few deep breathes, in and out, and relax your muscles. Keep doing this for a few moments until your mind begins to slow down.
Want to find out how practicing Mindfulness helped me with my negative thoughts? Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand – See below:
It is said that if you want to save yourself thousands in psychologist fees, simply learn how to breathe mindfully.
The breath is a good place to start, because we are breathing all the time, although usually unconsciously.
By tuning in we can unify our mind and body and become tied to the present moment.
By taking five deep breaths You can instantly feel tension and stress floating away.
Feel the breath coming into your body through the tips of your nostrils and then leaving your body again. Try envisioning your breath as a circle.
Visualise the inhales filling up half the circle then flowing directly into the exhales. It is a continuous motion. Whenever you notice your mind has wandered, bring it back to the breath.
If you want to take it one step further, on your inhales envision white healing light entering your body and, on your exhale, envision anxiety and tension leaving your body. Leave reminders for yourself throughout the day to breath
Focus on the present moment without judgement
Don’t dwell on your past mistakes and worry too much about the future. Stop being obsessed about a problem or a solution.
You need to learn to fully accept yourself in the moment. It’s not about avoiding a situation. It’s more about being present without being too attached to the outcome.
There is no right or wrong either, so try not to judge yourself.
Our minds can run away with themselves. Reacting to these thoughts can cause anxiety and stress. We can feel guilty or ashamed of our thoughts. But what if we just allowed those thoughts to pass gently? Without judging them as they arise?
Take a few minutes to focus on your thoughts. Notice them coming and going without judging and labelling. If you do judge or react to any thoughts, acknowledge that, and then gently let the thought pass.
Being mindful in this way helps you to develop an awareness and understanding of how your thoughts affect you, and how you can better control your thoughts every day.
Some great channels that I use for mindfulness videos, are the following:
Awareness of your bodily sensations
So often we live in our heads and we completely forget about our body, unless of course, we are in distress.
And here’s the problem:
We think that our mind is completely separate from our physical body.
But it’s not.
To become aware of your body, send your breath to different parts and acknowledge those body parts.
- Notice the tingling in your fingers
- Release the stress in your stomach
- Become aware of the top of your head and the tension in your neck
Becoming aware of your body will bring you into the present moment. It will fine-tune your senses and quiet the mind.
I also recommend the following books to read for Mindfulness:
Spend time in nature, even if it’s just your garden
The sounds and sights of a bustling city are fun, but overstimulating. Sometimes, it’s nice to get away and enjoy a quieter atmosphere. Nothing is quite as relaxing as being in nature. Plus, it’s a great way to take in the present moment.
Even if you live in the heart of a city, find a calming spot nearby. It can be a beach, the park, or even your garden.
Allow yourself to drop events from the day for just a moment. Watch the ocean waves crash against the sand. Sit underneath a tree in an open field. It’s just you and the calmness of a simplistic moment like this one.
I regularly take my dog for a walk over the local lake. When I’m there, I take deep breaths, taking in the fresh air. I listen to the sounds, watch the birds, and I enjoy the smells. Depending on what weather it is, the lake always smells differently.
If you don’t have the luxury of local lake, try take a walking break during the day and go to a park or the woods/forest. Notice everything around you and enjoy. You’ll return to everyday life recharged and with a fresh mind.
Take a mindful shower
Being mindful doesn’t require much effort. You can be mindful with every little task. Try to take a mindful shower. Feel the water touching your skin and notice the temperature of the water.
Focus on smell of the soap, it will give a calming effect. Listen as the water hits your skin and falls on the floor. Touch your skin and notice what this is like for you.
Pay attention to your feelings. Do fresh? Be aware of your thoughts and feelings as you do this. This will also enhance the need to care for yourself, which is a very good practice for your personal wellbeing.
The five senses exercise
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You notice something that you are experiencing with each of the five senses.
- 5 things you can see. Try to choose things that you don’t normally notice.
- 4 things you can feel. What textures, surfaces and sensations can you feel?
- 3 things you can hear. Notice what you can hear in the background. Try to separate the sounds.
- 2 things you can smell. Take notice of pleasant or unpleasant odours.
- 1 thing you can taste.
Mindfulness doesn’t just apply to emotions and thoughts, but to what you physically do too.
If you scoff down a load of food and find yourself reaching back into the fridge shortly afterwards, chances are you were distracted while eating and weren’t fully paying attention to the tastes and feeling of being full.
You were distracted by the fact that you ate. Focus your attention on the food in front of you.
Meditate, even if you’re too busy
Pick a regular time to meditate every day, such as on the commute to work on at the end of your lunch break.
Meditating is as simple as a breath in and out. You can meditate in the car, on the bus, on a lunch break or any time that you have a few minutes to disconnect from the stress of life.
Download some podcasts or apps about meditation and they will guide you on what to do. If you can spend hours scrolling on social media every day, you can spare 10 minutes to check in with your thoughts.
Want to know more about how meditation can have massive benefits to your mental health when implemented into your daily routine? Then see our post below:
The below channels on YouTube are great for guided meditations;
If you want to learn about meditation, the follow channel is excellent:
If you’re interested in learning more in-depth about meditation, then the below books are excellent:
Fully listen to the person in front of you
Do you find yourself listening to a friend or co-worker talking and you just nod and say yeah really? no way throughout the conversation?
Are you actually listening to what they’re telling you? If someone is giving you their time you should take it as a huge compliment.
They could be giving it to anyone else but they’re choosing to spend this moment solely with you, so show them thanks by being fully engaged with what they’re saying.
Ask questions and delve deeper into the conversation and don’t glance at your phone or let your thoughts wander to something you deem more important.
Slow down when you need to
It’s okay to do nothing and just be, especially when you need to heal from a bad experience. It’s ok to take a break from your busy schedule and do the things that you love.
Everyone needs some downtime to recharge and you don’t have to feel guilty for being ‘selfish’ once in a while.
Self-love is necessary.
Want to find out more about how slowing down and focusing on the present can help you be more confident? Then the see post below:
Empty your mind
Can you count the number of thoughts you have right now? I’m sure I can’t because there are always new thoughts popping in my mind while losing track of others.
It feels like a crowded highway inside the mind. Trying to let all the thoughts fade away and clear the path in front of you can feel liberating. It gives you time to connect with yourself.
For a mindful minute try to observe your thoughts and imagine blowing them away like bubbles.
Want to find out how a brain dump exercise is great for decluttering your mind? Then the see post below:
Trust and acceptance
one of the most painful, kind of slap-in-the-face truths you can learn in life, is that things you never thought could happen to you, happen.
Another thing you learn along the way is that you’re much stronger than you give yourself credit for.
At one point or another, you might face situations or events that seem cruel, unreal and unfair.
Things that are hard to accept and move on from. That’s when you have to trust yourself and take responsibility for your own feelings and actions.
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Mindfulness practice guide
I can’t tell you that your life will change instantly but I can tell you how my life has changed.
Since I began practicing Mindfulness, I have become so much more aware. I’m aware of other people’s feelings, I notice the beauty in life and because of this I can appreciate this life a lot more.
I don’t let the little things get to me so much, I can take a breath and realise that I don’t need to react to this situation.
In reality my life hasn’t changed, the things that used to stress me out are still there for the main part. It’s how I choose to respond to these stressors that is different. The change is within me, not life that happens around me.
That’s the beauty of Mindfulness you don’t need to take on the world, just yourself.
I would recommend to anyone to give Mindfulness a try. If you have already began the practice, how is it going for you? Do you have any other Mindfulness activities you would like to share? I look forward to hearing them.
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