What if I told you there was a fabulous and easy way to relax, be more self aware, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve concentration? You might be skeptical and I wouldn’t blame you! I’m talking about mindfulness, here, and it’s a really great thing.
Mindfulness is all about being, well, mindful, of everything that’s going on in your body and around you. It’s about letting your thoughts and feeling come and go, and noticing them without judgement, which has a surprisingly calming effect on your mind and your body. In our busy lives it’s even more important to be in the moment from time to time, without rushing or worrying about what we have going on and what’s coming next. You can take some time each day to meditate, but that’s a commitment and it might not be for everyone. But anyone can practice mindfulness, and you don’t even have to make a formal, official practice out of it. It’s easy to be mindful when you incorporate it into your active time, and you’ll still get the many benefits! Here are some easy ways to practice mindfulness:
Actually take notice of your feet connecting with the ground- it the ground hard or soft? Feel the air around you and how it feels on your skin. Look around at the things you’re passing as you move.
I can vouch for the effectiveness of this one! Stuck in traffic? Don’t freak out! Just realize that you’re in your car, this is where you are right now, and feel yourself sitting in your seat, feel the temperature, see what else you notice. Knowing that getting upset won’t get you anywhere faster is liberating and calming.
Whether you like to cook, or not, it can be a great way to incorporate mindfulness into a daily activity. Pay attention to each step in the process, and involve all your senses as your meal comes together. What are you feeling, smelling, seeing, hearing, and tasting as you work?
4. Having a conversation:
How many times has someone said something to you, but you have no idea what it was? Come on, it happens to all of us because we don’t fully engage in the conversation. Put yourself into it and your conversations will be so much more fulfilling.
5. Doing household chores:
They have to get done, so why not use the time as an opportunity to sharpen your brain and your senses? You can put mindfulness into effect when your washing dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry, or almost anything.
Notice the temperature and sensation of the water on your skin, and pay attention to sounds and smells as well.
This one can be really helpful, since mindful eating can prevent overeating and other bad eating habits. When you eat, concentrate on the food and don’t distract yourself with TV or books.
8. Activities you enjoy:
Give your leisure time an extra boost in the wellness department and pay attention to how you’re feeling when you dance, swim, knit, paint, or any activity that you enjoy.
There are so many apps around now that can help you get started and keep you going when you need some direction. Headspace, Calm, and Smiling Mind are a few good ones that are free, and you can do a search and find many more.
It’s a busy time of year, and that can cause some extra stress. Try some of these easy ways to practice mindfulness and you’ll find yourself feeling much more calm. Happy Holidays!