The concept of Mindfulness has been getting a lot of attention recently. The data is in and more and more people are turning to mindfulness practices as a way to de-stress, reduce pain, temper emotions, and to generally be more accepting of what’s happening in their lives.
Mindfulness teaches us to recognise moments in our lives that are invitations to pause and breathe; to respond instead of react; to sit and be present with whatever is causing us stress or discomfort without criticism. It is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your stress-reduction toolbox. But what is mindfulness exactly and why should you develop a mindfulness practice?
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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
Want to find out more about how slowing down and focusing on the present can help you be more productive? Then the see post below:
Why practice mindfulness?
Over the years, many benefits of mindfulness have been scientifically proven. For example, being mindful improves your mood and enhances your creativity and it also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It also makes you more focused as you train your brain to remove distractions and concentrate on one task.
But Mindfulness also helps you to slow down and stop rushing, to stop dwelling on the past but focusing on the present. You’ll notice that you’re enjoying the little moments and appreciating life more, because you’re actively concentrating on being in the moment.
Want to read about my journey to Mindfulness and how the practice transformed my life? Read my story below:
What are Mindfulness techniques?
Mindfulness isn’t always about meditation. It can be very easily incorporated with daily activities.
However, practicing Mindfulness Meditation can certainly help in bringing the focus back to the present moment. Thus, making mindfulness, a part of the lifestyle.
So, what are Mindfulness techniques?
Mindfulness techniques are any activity or practice that you perform in a mindful way.
Now, you can perform everything in a mindful way. But there are some activities that are easier to be mindful in than others.
And it’s these mindful activities that I am going to share in this post.
Now let’s jump into the details of the Mindfulness techniques that you can implement into your everyday life!
Some great channels that I use for mindfulness videos, are as followed:
I also recommend the following books to read:
Mindfulness meditation is practiced by focusing the mind on the present and keeping your thoughts from wandering into the past and future. It focuses on breath awareness to draw attention to your body, open up your senses and anchor you into the present and your immediate surroundings.
- Sit comfortably with your upper body straight but do not stiffen.
- Relax and pay attention to what every part of your body is doing like how your legs are positioned and where your arms lay.
- You may close your eyes if you need help getting more focused and relaxed, but it’s not necessary.
- Gently inhale and exhale, getting into the rhythm of your breath noticing how each part of your body reacts and what you’re currently feeling.
- Open your eyes and with a soft gaze, notice your surroundings using your senses, without allowing your mind to wander. See your surroundings and free yourself of any judgment.
The below channels on YouTube are great for guided meditations;
Create channels for meditation music:
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:
There’s no need to wait until stress rises to use breathing methods for well-being. You experience balance and harmony when your breaths are of equal length and depth.
As inhaling and exhaling uniformly are the natural response to inner peace, your brain thinks you are relaxed even when you breathe this way intentionally. Take deep, even breaths throughout the day to preserve well-being.
Don’t judge or react to your thoughts
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.
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.
Progressive muscle relaxation
A great mindfulness activity for just before bed is progressive muscle relaxation.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves taking a moment to check in with your body by paying attention to how it feels, one muscle group at a time. This involves lying down and then clenching or flexing your toes for ten seconds or so and then releasing.
Focus on how the area feels and then move up to flex your ankle and your calves. This can be very relaxing but it can also help you to identify areas that might need a good stretch or a light massage.
Take a mindful walk
Being in nature is one of the easiest ways for me to be mindful in everyday life.
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.
Choose something small, like a stone, a leaf or a flower. If you can hold it in your hands and take a good look at it and try to observe everything about it. Focus all of your attention on it.
Notice the items appearance, what size is it? what shape is it? What colours can you see? Does the item have different textures?
Do not assess the item or judge it just observe it for what it is.
8 easy Mindfulness activities – Final thought
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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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about topics such as lifestyle, self-care, self-development, finance, saving money and making money. Come and join the community!