Mindfulness refers to a state of being in the present moment without worrying about the past or future. This practice is a form of meditation that comes from ancient traditions, and research has shown it improves overall wellbeing.
Rather than living with the negative effects of stress, you can use mindfulness to stay grounded instead of getting lost in anxious thoughts and emotions.
Multitasking encourages scattered thinking, which creates more stress. With mindfulness, you can stay focused on tasks and become more efficient in all you do. Mindfulness builds intentionality, making the practice akin to a form of moving meditation.
When people practise mindfulness regularly, they become more self-aware. This allows them to regulate their emotions and avoid being overwhelmed.
Mindfulness practitioners are more compassionate towards themselves and others as they do not worry about judgement. They respond with balanced, healthy reactions, allowing them to cultivate strong relationships that reflect their personal peace of mind.
How do you practise mindfulness?
Mindfulness does not involve rituals or special events; it simply involves a breathing routine that gives you time to focus on your inhales and exhales. Here are some simple ways to be mindful:
- Focus on your breathing
Sit down, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help when you are stressed.
- Pay attention
Take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses. For example, when you eat, make a conscious effort to truly smell, taste and enjoy it.
- Be in the moment
Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do. Find joy in simple pleasures.
- Accept yourself
Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
You can also try more structured mindfulness exercises, such as:
- Body scan meditation
Lie on your back with legs extended and arms at your sides, palms up. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe.
Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body.
- Sitting meditation
Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor, and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt, note the experience and return your focus to your breath.
- Walking meditation
Find a quiet place and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance.
When you reach the end of your path, turn and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.
Finally, you can also be mindful when interacting with others. Listening and being attentive during conversations is a form of mindfulness that shows you care about the people around you.
Do so without judgement or planning what to say next. Mindful communication creates empathetic relationships with deeper connections.
Read more articles by Dennis Relojo-Howell here.