What Is Mindfulness ?
Mindfulness is a moment-by-moment awareness of present thoughts, feelings and sensations. It really is a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment.
Becoming more aware of where you are and what you’re doing, without becoming overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
It’s not so much about reaching and end goal, but about exploring, experiencing your inner world. The things that drive you, motivate you, keep you stuck, get in your way.
The more you practice mindfulness, the more you will come to understand how you feel, your thoughts or sensations, and how they influence your mood and the way you respond to the world.
Why we should practice being mindful
We live in a world where everything goes fast. We are in the instantaneity, and we often neglect taking care of ourselves. Mindfulness encourages us to focus on our emotions and thoughts in order to understand how we are feeling. Mindfulness is a useful practice if you suffer with anxiety or high levels of stress.
Over the years, mindfulness has been scientifically proven to improve your mood and creativity. Mindfulness also helps to reduce stress and anxiety and improves your focus as it removes distractions.
Ways to practice Mindfulness
Here are some simple, daily activities that encourage mindfulness. You’ll find that you already do most of these however changing them up slightly will turn them into mindful practices.
We breathe constantly. It is something we have learn and that we do naturally.
Instead of waking up and snoozing your alarm, start your day right, sit up comfy and start to breathe deep and slow breaths. Make sure to breathe correctly, the belly must move up and down, and be aware of what is happening inside your body.
Each time you breathe in, focus on what is happening and repeat it when you exhale. If your mind moves away, just acknowledge that your mind has wandered, and gently bring your focus back to your breath.
Brush your teeth mindfully
Take the time each morning and each night before going to sleep, to brush your teeth. This is a moment where you are alone, with your whole body, and is a perfect time for you to practice mindfulness.
Smell your toothpaste, taste it, feel the freshness in your mouth.
During this exercice, let your mind wildly wander … and notice where it went. Ask yourself, why it went there… and be aware of your thoughts and feelings as you do this.
Brushing teeth mindfully gives you the opportunity to practice mindfulness twice a day.
Spend Time outside
As we were kids, we were always spending time outside. But with the years, and our work, we are more and more inside, behind a computer.
So take a mindful walk, and enjoy nature.
For that, you need to give full attention to the experience of walking. And because walking is something that we do every day, it becomes automatic, we do it without think.
It has been proven that spending more time outside and in the fresh air increase happiness.
Listen to Others
Really engage with the person you are with. Notice them fully: the color of their eyes, the sound of their voice, the way their voice lands on you when they speak.
If you are on the phone with someone, try to close your eyes and to be fully present in the moment. Too often we hear people but we do not listen because we are not fully present, often thinking of something else or being distracted with other things.
So try giving your whole, undivided attention to the person talking to you.
Multitasking is great until you constantly feel as if you have a million things to do.
It is time to take the time and to slow down. Instead of rushing, practice mindfulness and take a break. Focus on one task at a time to be very productive and to relax after all.
Do nothing, just enjoy quiet and calm time in your sofa to rest, and to boost your energy again.
As I was saying, today with our work, we are more and more behind screens and consume content via social media, news apps or tv. It is so easy to scroll; however, it is not healthy.
Due to this new way of consuming content, our attention shrinks.
Switch your phone with a book every night before going to bed. Read for 30 minutes or more. Not only will you increase your focus and concentration, but you will also have a better night’ sleep because you are not exposed to your phone’s light.
It’s so easy to fall into habitual ways of doing, feeling and thinking. But by practicing mindfulness, it will help you slow down the process, and bring a sense of meaningfulness to even the most mundane, everyday tasks.
Mindfulness allows us to engage the whole of our senses and experience moment of our day with a full aliveness and presence.
The opportunities to practice mindfulness are in our hands every day. Engaging with the thing we do regularly – showering washing the dishes, being, noticing – but being with them fully, with every sense switched on might be easier said than done, but it’s a powerful way to strengthen our mind, body and spirit.
If this is something totally new for you, remind yourself that everything takes time. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Start where you are, practice regularly and you’ll end up where you want to be.