Mindfulness is a concept that we often hear day in and day out, but what is it really? What does it really mean to be ‘mindful’ and practice ‘mindfulness’?
Mindfulness is a practice that requires us to be aware of the present moment, our thoughts, bodily sensations, feelings and our immediate environment. There are various studies to date that highlight the benefits of mindfulness, such as improving and boosting our mood and experiencing more positive emotions.
Our everyday lives keep us busy with all the demands we have to meet, so what if I told you that you could attain more joy, happiness and have a more fulfilling life through mindfulness?
Mindfulness is practice that requires you to be consistent and show up for yourself regularly, which isn’t always easy. Even as a therapist, I myself have found it difficult to keep up with my own mindfulness practice, but here are several simplistic techniques to use.
Pay attention to how your body feels
We often pay attention to our thoughts when practising mindfulness, but what about our bodies? Our bodies hold a lot of tension, emotions and at times traumatic events. Our bodies give us signals when something is not quite right and it can be difficult to notice since, as humans, we’re often in ‘our heads’.
Body Scans are a widely popular mindfulness technique and I myself often use this with clients in my therapeutic practice. A body scan simply involves paying attention to your breath, the rhythm, bodily sensations, and body parts that are sore or tingly, and noticing where you feel heavy or light in your body.
Due to the pandemic, many of us now have a hybrid way of working or just work from home. Working from home means that you may be spending days at your desk buried in work tasks, and skipping lunch breaks!
Spending time outdoors is not a technique, however, it is another way to practice mindfulness. Going outdoors can look like taking a walk around your area or walking through a serene park. During your walk, observe how you feel being outdoors, what the weather is like, what you can see, what you can smell, and what you can hear.
Practice stillness in the morning
How quickly do you reach for your phone in the morning instead of taking a moment to be mindful of how you feel?
Practising stillness in the morning as a form of mindfulness, can reduce your stress levels. This mindfulness technique requires you to sit still for at least an hour, which can be pretty intense for a beginner or even an intermediate. I would suggest setting a timer for at least 5-10 minutes and just sitting still for that period of time and seeing and feeling what comes up for you.
Sit and feel your feelings
Being mindful of your feelings is another way of being in the present moment. Feeling your feelings requires you to be still and tune in into your inner world. Many of us avoid our feelings because we don’t want to feel those unpleasant emotions, but running from our emotions can be exhausting.
Sitting with feelings looks like allowing the feeling to arise, and acknowledging what you feel without judgement. When the feeling does arise, try not to go into thought mode, just be…
Pay attention to your food when eating
How often do you take the time to purposefully enjoy the food you are eating?
Mindfulness eating is when we take the time to appreciate and acknowledge the taste and texture of the food we are eating. Depending on the type of food it is, you may also want to physically hold the piece of food you’re eating and focus on how it smells.
What mindfulness technique will you use? Share with a comment and don’t forget to react to this post with an emoji!
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