Mindfulness is a great way to keep calm and happy in today's world. The mental state of mindfulness can help to reduce anxiety, and keep your mind healthy through an awareness of your own thoughts. While it might be the ‘buzzword’ of the year, mindfulness has been practiced for over 2000 years, and it’s now seen as a medically recommended technique to reduce depression. Want to get in on it?
Here’s a few small ways you can bring mindfulness into your daily life.
Try it for one minute
A short ‘mindfulness minute’ throughout your way is a good way to quickly get a boost of calm, especially if you’re busy. You’ll need a timer for this exercise. All you need to do is to set the timer for one minute, and during this minute, you’ll need to focus your whole attention on your breathing and nothing else. It may be easier to do this with your eyes closed to start, but you can also have your eyes open. Don’t worry if you lose touch with your breath and become lost in thought, it’s easy to let go of the thought and bring your attention back to your breath gently. These little moments of mindfulness can be a great practice to start when you’re feeling stressed throughout your day.
In our modern world, we tend to move through life quickly, rushing through moments and onto the next, but taking the time to slow down may make us happier. It’s important to try and slow down and be present in each moment of our lives - the main takeaway from practicing mindfulness. If you’re struggling with slowing down mentally, try literally - slowing down. Walk slower, take time on each conversation, don’t rush through each part of your daily life. This will help you become a little bit more mindful, and you’ll probably be less stressed too.
One of life’s greatest pleasures is food, and an easy way to practice mindfulness is to start eating mindfully. It’s easy to become out of touch with this in our busy lives, but it's important to remember just how simple enjoying our food can be - and mindful eating can also help weight loss.
Next time you sit down to eat a meal, try to focus on the experience- this means no more sitting down to eat in front of the latest Netflix show! Try taking in how your food looks and smells, what texture it feels like in your mouth. Take small bites and enjoy your meal slowly, which will allow you to be more present in the moment.
Start to mindfully listen
It’s very common to listen, but not really listen when other people are talking to us. Often, we’re not 100% present when others are saying something, and we’re often caught up in our own thoughts, perhaps thinking about what we are going to say in response.
Next time someone is talking to you, try this exercise in mindful listening. Try to really listen to what they are saying without getting distracted by your own thoughts. Focus all of your attention on them, and you'll find you’ll actually be engrossed in what they are saying. People appreciate it when you truly listen to them, and you’ll also find that you've listened to in return.
Focus on the task at hand
Look, we all know that everyday chores and household tasks are mundane, to say the least, and it’s easy to let your mind wander while you check them off your to-do list. But you can transform these daily tasks into a mindfulness exercise. Next time you’re doing something where you usually let your mind drift away, try your hardest to focus on the task and live in the present moment. Try and make your mind engaged in what you are doing, without rushing through. Pay attention to all the minute details in what you are doing. This keeps you attuned to the moment and relaxed, helping you become a little more mindful.
Ditch the multitasking
Multitasking has become a skill to have in our modern world, and while people may think it makes them more productive, it can actually cause our energy to drain quicker. Multitasking can spread our attention thinly, and can make us make mistakes we would usually catch.
Try to change your attitude from multitasking to focusing on one thing at a time. When you mindfully focus on one task, there’s less rushing and you may find yourself being more productive, less distracted, and less stressed out!
Take a walk
Incorporating mindfulness into your walking time can be a great way to introduce mindfulness without adding extra time to your day. Wherever you are walking, try to turn it into a meditative exercise, by letting yourself become aware of the sensations in your body, taking considered and conscious breaths. Notice how each step feels on your feet, and pay attention to your surroundings.
Using your senses
One of the easiest ways to practice mindfulness is to pay attention to your senses. Whatever situation you are in, try and take a moment to listen to each one of your senses fully. Look, listen, feel, smell, and taste, taking everything you can in, being fully engaged with what you are experiencing. Sense perception helps to bring you into the moment, and drown out any distracting thoughts that wander into your mind.
Time to do nothing
If you’ve mastered the ‘mindful minute’, you can extend your minute, and set aside some ‘nothing time’, in which you do literally nothing. Taking some time out to just chill out and not do anything can help hone your mindfulness skills, and make us feel more relaxed.
Try sitting down in a comfy chair, or lying on your bed, without any distractions or screens. Try to bring your awareness into the moment, and just try and ‘exist’, even if it’s for just five minutes.
By Amy Cavill
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