What is Mindfulness?
Hello all! This week, I wanted to discuss mindfulness and give you a few different exercises to try. I know that I always appreciate a little reminder to remain in the present. 🙂
Mindfulness is defined by Psychology Today as “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” In our culture, we are exposed to high-stress situations on a regular basis, remembering to be mindful, or to “see the bigger picture” can be hugely helpful in reducing stress and cortisol levels. Practicing mindfulness can also be helpful in combating anxiety.
How do I practice mindfulness?
I’m sure that the first thing that comes to mind when discussing mindfulness is meditation. This is a great option. There are a wide variety of meditation techniques that you can try, but if you are new to meditation, I recommend starting simply. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit in a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and notice your breathing pattern. Feel free to experiment with different mantras until you find one that is a good fit for you. If that seems intimidating, start with stating “this breath in” with each inhalation, and “this breath out” with each exhale. When the timer goes off, you’re done! You could try this in the morning, at the beginning of your lunch break, or before you go to bed in the evening.
Another option would be to take a body scan. This can be practiced in a variety of forms none of which are incorrect. Here is an option of how to start: Lie down on your back. Close you eyes and start with noticing any sensations in the crown of your head. Move down through the body slowly and deliberately, noticing any sensations without judgement in your face, shoulders, chest, upper arms, belly, hips, legs and feet. There is no time limit or requirement for this exercise, but if you would like to set a timer for yourself, you are more than welcome to do so.
Minute of Appreciation
This is one of our favorite exercises, and you can do it anywhere! For roughly one minute (or as long as you need), think of all of the things that you are grateful for in your life. This exercise can be especially beneficial on days when things are not going your way. We also like this practice when struggling with sleep issues. There is always something to be grateful for even if it seems minuscule.
You could also practice Pilates of Yoga as an act of mindfulness. Explore and find which methods work best for you. Enjoy!