Mindfulness. It’s synonymous with meditation. But it certainly isn’t the only way to practice it.
Mindfulness is less about the process of getting rid of your thoughts and more about focusing on the now. Living in the present. It’s about being aware of your feelings and learning to accept them as they come and seeing them pass.
The beauty of mindfulness is that we all possess the ability to cultivate it. The more mindful we are, the better we deal with challenges and struggles, with Monday-itis, or dreaded confrontations.
So, if meditation is simply not for you, try one, or all of these mindfulness practices to get you closer to your personal zen.
Journaling is a fantastic way to tap into your mindful state. The act of writing down your thoughts allows you to be really honest with yourself. The beauty is, you can journal anything. Goals, reflections, mantras, feelings.
Set aside ten minutes each day, either in the morning or just before bed to journal. Experiment with what type of journaling resonates with you the most. Whether it’s writing about your day, repeating your mantra etc. Set it as a goal to do it daily/weekly/monthly – and stick to it.
What can be better than acknowledging what you are most grateful for in your life? In our busy lives, we often forget to stop and smell the roses – ie; we don’t take the time to appreciate what is giving us the most joy in our lives.
Practicing gratitude is known to have tremendous effects on our overall happiness and well-being.
Start each day by acknowledging three things you are grateful for. You can list them or say them aloud to yourself/share them with a loved one.
Yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand. You know that blissed out feeling you get when it’s time for the final savasana in yoga? That’s a result of having just spent the last hour practising being mindful. During yoga, you focus on one posture at a time – you’re in the moment working deeper into the pose. Your awareness, acute.
And of course, the whole time you’re mindful of your breathing. Your breath guides you. Which brings us to our next point…
You don’t need the yoga mat to practise mindful breathing. In fact, this one you can pretty much do anywhere. In bed, in the shower, on the bus, at your desk. The act of mindful breathing requires just two things: your breath and your attention.
Take a few minutes in the middle of the day to stop, close your eyes and take 10-20 long, deep breaths. Breathing in for five seconds and out for five. Notice how you are breathing, what does it feel like? How does your body react to each breath you take, what does it sound like? Are you feeling yourself unwind?
Get lost in the music
Have you ever put on music whilst doing an idle task and got completely swept up in it? Listening to music that you love puts you in a mindful state. Nothing else seems to matter when your favorite song is on – you are focused completely and entirely on it.
Music affects your brain and mood. It stimulates emotions through certain brain circuits. It engages memory and attention. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good Spotify session. Let the tunes take you away for a while – suddenly, your problems, worries or concerns are no longer that problematic.
Mindfulness coloring books
You’ve no doubt seen the range of mindfulness coloring books available in most major bookstores. They seem to be everywhere these days.
The concept of adult coloring books exploded onto the scene a few years ago. Due to their therapeutic benefits, adult coloring books are often recommended by psychologists and therapists as a way to help with emotional and mental health issues.
The science behind it is that it relaxes our amygdala: the part of the brain that controls our fight or flight response. Focusing on the coloring turns this response down allows us to feel calm and enjoy the present moment.
The truth is, there’s a myriad of ways to practice mindfulness. Practice it in any way that gets you to a heightened state of awareness. The important part is that you actively aim to pursue it. And hey, reading this article certainly is a start.
We’d love to know some of the ways you practice mindfulness. Let us in on your tips in the comments.