Nobody wants to think about difficult or worrying things, but trying to get rid of upsetting thoughts can often make you think about them even more.
By listening for bird chirps or concentrating on the taste of your coffee or smelling the smell of fresh air, you’re bringing your attention to the present moment.
Mindfulness cannot eliminate stress from your life, but it can provide a powerful set of techniques and practices that help you manage that stress capably and creatively.
The benefits of Mindfulness are plentiful:
- decreasing depression, anxiety and stress
- increasing emotional regulation
- better memory
- improving cognitive ability
- slowing brain aging
- increasing sense of well-being
- helping with pain management
- improving quality of life for those living with chronic conditions
And it really isn´t as difficult as it sounds, with some practice you can easily make it your own. Just give it a try and see what it can do for you!
Here you go:
Key to Mindfulness is noticing what’s happening in the PRESENT moment, without JUDGEMENT. You might take notice and be aware of your mind, body or surroundings.
1. When you wake up
Mindfulness starts from the moment you wake up in the morning. You can spend a few minutes checking in with yourself. How do I feel? What emotions are there? Do I feel any physical aches or pains? If so, take a moment to stretch in a way that feels good or take a walk, listen to the sound of the birds and feel the breeze on your skin. You could sit down to write down how you feel, a morning journaling routine can help you finding out what’s going on in your head.
2. Mindful breathing
During the day all kind of thoughts appear in your head, some good, some bad. If you feel you are overthinking things, it might help to turn toward your breath to help you stay present. Mindful breathing simply involves focusing your mind on the breath coming in and leaving your body. You might focus on the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils, or the rising and falling of your breath in your belly or chest. When you notice your mind wanders or you get distracted by something going on around you, gently bring your attention back to the breath without judging yourself or “rating” your performance.
3. Focus on sensations
You can easily bring mindfulness into your daily life by making a point of focusing on your senses You can do this at any time, just turn your attention toward what’s going on around you. For example:
- when having a shower, focus on the sensation of warm water on your skin, the steam surrounding you and the smell of the soap.
- when walking, pay attention to how your feet touch the earth, the wind touching your face and the sway of your arms and body as you move
- when eating or drinking, focus on the textures, flavours, smells and sensations that come with each bite or sip.
Do you feel discomfort somewhere? Mentally zoom in to where your body is holding that tension; shoulders, back, and jaw are common areas. Then, gradually try to let the tension go by relaxing those muscles.
An exercise to get rid of tension is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, a grounding exercise which allows you to connect with the world around you. This involves letting your attention rest on:
- five things you see
- four things you hear
- three things you smell
- two things you touch
- one thing you taste
4. Mindfulness while you wait
We spent a lot of time in our lives just waiting, at the bus stop, dentist, cueing in the supermarket or traffic light… a great opportunity to get mindful! As you wait, instead of looking at your phone, you might take a few deep breaths and focus in on what’s around you. What interesting things can you see around you? What smells are in the air? What can you hear?
5. Daily meditation
Meditation is a key element of mindfulness for many people. You might spend 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or longer to sit quietly in a comfortable spot and focus on an activity or an object, for example your breath, a mantra (silently repeating a phrase or word that is calming), etc. You can also use guided meditations to help you get into a mindful state. Want to learn more about meditation and how to do it, read our blog here >>