You have probably heard the term mindfulness a lot. It is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, and you may be wondering what it is all about, and how it can improve your health and well-being.
Mindfulness simply means just paying attention to the present moment. This could be with your body, to your surroundings, or to any activity that you are doing.
To be honest, I used to think mindfulness was a little “out there”, but it was only when I started practising it to improve my health and well-being, that it made a significant impact to how I felt.
Here were some of the things I notice when I practise mindfulness.
• I am appreciative and in awe of everything around me.
• I feel happier.
• It gives me a break from constant mind chatter, stress, and negative thoughts.
There has been a lot of research into mindfulness, and the latest studies have shown that practising mindfulness, is the foundation for improving both your physical and mental well-being. Also, by being more mindful, it forces you to be more present, which in turn frees up your mind so you can engage in and enjoy life more.
This is what the science tells us about practising mindfulness.
It boosts immune function.
It activates positive emotions.
It reduces cognitive decline.
It improves our mental health.
Mindfulness isn’t just meditation, you can practice mindfulness in any activity from brushing your teeth, being out on a walk, eating, doing the washing up, focusing on your breath. or simply just being still and present.
Here are 7 easy ways that you can practice mindfulness.
🌈 Go in reverse. Instead of following your usual routine in the morning, or during your day, reverse the order you do things. For example, if you usually brush your teeth first, brush your hair first instead. If you normally have a shower first, then have breakfast first. Rather than being on auto pilot, changing your routine will enable you to be more present in the moment.
🌈 Go out for a mindfulness walk. Leave your phone at home and go for a walk. Pay attention to all your surroundings. Really be aware and take note of your body, the way your hips swing as you walk and how the ground feels with each step. Look and listen to everything. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back by breathing and focusing on your breath. You can also check out my guide to mindfulness walking here.
🌈 Try something new each week. Drive a different way to work, go to a new restaurant, eat something different for dinner, try a yoga class. Start experimenting with ways to mix up your usual routine.
🌈 Use your non-dominant hand, for writing, brushing your hair, brushing your teeth, and eating. This will really help you stay focused and be present. I do this all the time for eating.
🌈 Spend one-minute paying attention to your breath. Take some time out to be still, or lay down. Focus on your breathing and watch your belly rise and fall with each breath, when your mind wanders (which it will do) just keep bringing your attention back to your breath.
🌈 Practice mindful eating. Choose to eat a meal with no distractions. Take your 5 big deep breaths. Look at the food, what do you see? What does it look like? Smell the food. What does it smell like? Take your first bite- put down any utensils and chew slowly. What flavours and textures can you taste? Continue eating mindfully and slowly.
🌈 Connect with your senses. It is through our senses that we come to know and enjoy the present moment. Look at your surroundings. What do you see? What do you notice? Pause, breathe and listen to everything, what can you hear? Take a moment to soak up any aromas from the flowers, the trees, the ocean air, the coffee and the food. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the grass or sand, or simply pay attention to the breeze in your hair, or the way your clothes feel on your skin. Most importantly start to have fun with all your senses- see new things, listen to new sounds, smell new smells and taste new foods.
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