It seems that whenever you open a magazine, there is something about mindfulness and its many benefits and I would like to share some steps to mindfulness that will make you feel amazing. So what is mindfulness? It essentially means being in the moment and not being on 'automatic pilot' mode. We all lead such busy lives and are often not fully conscious or aware of what we're doing. Being mindful essentially means enjoying the present moment rather than thinking about the past and future. We're bombarded with so much information every moment of every day, and being mindful in everyday life can really transform lives. We focus so much on detoxing the body but we also need to detox the mind. Since practicing mindfulness meditation, I have noticed many positive changes in my life and my stress levels have significantly reduced. Here are some steps to mindfulness which will make you feel wonderful.
1. Find a Space
One of the first steps to mindfulness is finding a space. Having a space to sit and practice mindfulness exercises is very helpful, but technically you can do this anywhere when you need to feel more centered. You might want to try this lying down on your bed, sitting on a chair or sitting in the traditional meditative pose with your legs crossed, it's up to you. You might be at work and want to sit quietly in a room with no distractions for ten to twenty minutes.
2. Concentrate on Your Breathing
It's something we do every moment of every day but something we're rarely conscious of. When practicing mindfulness, close your eyes and focus in on your breathing, concentrating on the breath. When you breathe in, visualize the breath going into your nose then exhale. If you need to, count 1,2,3 as you're breathing in and 1,2,3 as you're breathing out. Taking deep breaths will help to calm your racing mind.
3. Just Observe
Listen to the sounds around you. Being mindful isn't about 'blocking' anything out or trying to empty your head, it's about being in the present moment, paying attention and being non-judgmental in everything you do. Listen to the sounds around you and welcome them.
4. Body Scan
Observe your body from head to toe. Start from the top of your head and turn your attention to every part of your body, noticing any tension or discomfort you may feel in that present moment.
5. Free Your Mind
Your mind will inevitably wander and you will think about what so and so said or the billion and one things you have to do. Don't worry, this happens. When this happens, focus your mind on the sitting posture and repeat to yourself 'sitting, sitting, sitting.' This helps to bring your mind back to the present moment. Alternatively, bring your attention back to your breath.
Be aware of where you are at that moment and what you can feel. For example, you may notice how the chair feels against your body. Be aware of your body and your posture and how you feel in that present moment.
7. Everyday Mindfulness
Mindfulness isn't something that just happens when you're sitting cross legged in a quiet room for twenty minutes. Mindfulness is about enjoying everything you do. It can be achieved by concentrating on your food when eating and being mindful of the taste and texture rather than gobbling it down in one go. When you're unloading the dishwasher or hanging out the washing, concentrate on what you're doing rather than what you need to do next. Mindfulness therefore becomes a state of being rather than a conscious activity.
There are some great free apps you can download, such as Mindfulness Daily and Omvana, which can help you practice mindfulness daily, wherever you are. Does anyone else practice mindful meditation?