The word "mindfulness" is used a lot when talking about self-care and wellness. But what is it? And how could you benefit from practicing mindfulness?
According to mindful.org, mindfulness is
"the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it."
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS
There have been many documented benefits of mindfulness but here are the top 5:
- Reduced stress levels and improved mental health
- Improved memory
- Improved focus
- Improved emotional control/regulation
- Improved immune function and overall general health
WAYS TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
The most commonly discussed form of mindfulness practice is meditation. Mindfulness meditation trains the brain to slow down and calm down commonly using breath work.
However if meditation is not your thing, you can also bring your mindfulness practice into your everyday life. This is call being mindfully present. But how do you do this?
Melli O'Brien from mrsmindfulness suggests trying some of the following practices:
- One Minute Mindfulness - introduce 'meditation minutes' into your day. Set a timer for 1 minute and concentrate on nothing else but your breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently redirect it back to your breath
- Transformational Chores - turn everyday chores into mindfulness sessions. When performing a chore or task, place all your attention and energy into the task at hand. Be fully engaged in the task at hand, avoiding mind chatter and the urge to rush to finish.
- Mindful Eating - reclaim the pleasure of food. How often do you sit down to eat but are distracted by your devices or television or anything else? How often do you grab something to eat on the run because you're just "too busy" to take the time to enjoy your meal? Time to try something different. Sit down for your meal and turn of all distractions. Before you start, notice your meal - how it looks and smells. Take small bites and eat slowly, enjoying the tastes and experience of nourishing your body. As an added bonus, mindful eating has been demonstrated to aid in weight-loss and healthy digestion.
- Slow Down - ours is a world that focuses on being busy. Often we measure our worth by how 'busy' we are. If we're not 'busy' we're not achieving or succeeding. Ummm.... WRONG! What we are actually doing when we get lost in the 'busy' is robbing ourselves of the ability to be fully present in the big moments, the important moments, the precious moments of our lives. Slowing down physically will allow you to slow down mentally and gain more pleasure out of life. Multitasking is overrated and exhausting. Do one thing at a time and remain fully present
- Nothing Time - you don't have to be doing something all the time. Build 5 minutes of 'nothing time' in your day. Sit for 5 minutes in a sunny spot or a comfy chair without distractions and just...do...nothing. Focus on the present moment and your sensory perceptions. All that exists and matters is the here and now.
So now we have given you some inspiration and ideas for practicing mindfulness everyday, how are you going to incorporate a little mindfulness into your self-care practice? Let us know in the comments below.