10 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness
In this modern world it is so easy to get stressed. An angry boss, a traffic jam, a sick child or a petty social media feud can be common occurrences and leave us feeling drained. While it is impossible to change the traffic or the mood of others, we are able to take it upon ourselves to feel the best we can each day.
Mindfulness (the practice of becoming consciously present) is a great daily practice to achieve a state of calm and peace. It brings us into the current moment and out of our frazzled minds. Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone at any time. All you have to do is focus on what is in front of you and unbiasedly notice any thoughts that pop up. Here are 10 simple ways that you can practice mindfulness and achieve a greater state of well-being today.
1. Chew Your Food
How often have you ran to the pantry after a hard day? Feeling full can be such a comforting feeling when we are sad, lonely, tired or wired. Chewing your food sounds simple but truly notice how much you chew the next time you eat. Start with chewing 20 times each bite and work your way up to 100. You will begin to taste your food properly, enjoy meals more thoroughly and feel fuller more quickly.
2. Listen to a Friend
I am guilty of ringing a loved one to tell them all about a crisis going on in my life. Instead try ringing a loved one to hear about what is going on with them. This allows you to focus on something else instead of your own problems. It can also give you a nice energy boost because you know you are doing something selfless for another.
3. Practice Deep Breathing
Before I started becoming mindful of my breathing I did not realise how shallow my breath was. Now that I practice deep breathing I can easily put myself in a calmer and relaxed state. Try 10 deep breaths a day to begin. Notice the breath going in your nostrils, going down your throat and into your belly. If any thoughts come up while you are breathing simply notice them go by.
4. Play a Game
Often when I am in an agitated state (as an example when I am waiting in an impossibly long line to vote) I play little mind games with myself. I like to pick out how many blue things I can find in the room or notice what kind of shoes each person around me in wearing. Taking in your surroundings is a great mindfulness practice.
5. Go for a Walk
Fresh air is a fantastic stress buster. Going for a short, brisk walk can release good feelings and keep you healthy. One of my favourite things to do is look at all the houses I walk by and pick which one I would live in. My problems of the day seem very far away once I have returned home from my walk.
6. Do a Full Body Scan
Notice every part of your body starting from your toes to the top of your head. How does each area of your body feel? Tense or loose? This practice can help you become aware of what is going on in your body.
7. Try an App
If you are feeling unsure of yourself and your mindfulness practice there are amazing apps to help you. The Smiling Mind, One Giant Mind and Headspace apps have easy to use mindfulness exercises for you use.
8. Sing Loudly
What was your favourite song when you were 12? Sing that at the top of your lungs and you will be jolted back into the present moment. You will be focusing your thoughts on lyrics of a loved song which gives you great memories. You will probably have a little smile on your face for the rest of the day after a good sing session.
9. Take a Hot Bath
Giving yourself a relaxing bath ritual is a great way to have time to yourself and release any tension from the day. Try adding some Epsom salt or magnesium flakes to your baths or some great smelling essential oils.
10. Count Down from 300
When all else fails, number counting can bring you back into the present moment. Counting down from 300 is a technique I also use when I am unable to sleep. Counting down is a great way to distract your mind from excess worrying or intruding thoughts. My problems never seem so big after I have done the count down.
Are you going to start a daily mindfulness practice? Which of the 10 strategies are you going to use? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.