Mindfulness seems to be the latest trend — except that it’s not.
It is a part of many ancient spiritual teachings and religions, but we’re witnessing an increased interest in practicing it since we discovered its many benefits such as stress-relief, relaxation, improvement of biological and psychological functions, overall clarity of mind, and many more.
What is Mindfulness Exactly?
The term “mindfulness” refers to being fully immersed in the present moment and the experience at hand.
This means that all actions we take are deliberate and that we can observe our own thoughts and feelings without identifying with them.
On a more spiritual note, practicing mindfulness is said to be the key that unlocks the doors of the transcendental realm we all came from and will return to.
How to Include Mindfulness in Your Life?
Meditation is the most commonly advised mindfulness practice. However, meditation takes a lot of time and dedication.
And, let’s face it. Most of us have our jobs, loved ones to tend to, and various hobbies and interest that we wish to pursue.
Mindfulness may offer us access to the non-physical realm, but we’re still definitely living in a material world (Madonna, you were right!).
Here are 5 easy and quick mindfulness exercises that you can incorporate in your everyday life and eventually work your way up if you want to.
On your way to your office or home, avoid getting lost in your thoughts and try to pay attention to yourself and your surroundings.
Start by focusing on the sensation of walking—how does it feel to lift your feet up and then lower them? Does the walk feel refreshing or is it tiring? Are your arms stiff or do they follow the natural rhythm of your body?
Then focus on your surroundings and notice the scents that fill the air and how the ground on which you’re walking supports you. Zoom in on all the little details that embellish your environment.
End this exercise by concentrating on your breath for 30 seconds. Don’t try to change it, but simply observe it without judging it.
Make a list of questions that relate to your daily experience.
The list can contain questions such as:
- Did anything significant happen?
- Did my mood change throughout the day? If so, why?
- Did I tend to my own needs?
- Did I feel in control?
- Was I prejudiced towards someone or something?
- Was I overcome by my thoughts?
- Was there a thought that was worrying me?
- Do I feel proud of myself?
- Do I feel loved?
You should make your own personalized set of questions because you will be the one answering them, so decide what’s important to you and what you want to focus more on.
Try to answer these questions before you go to bed to check up on yourself.
Drink Your Coffee... Mindfully
While you’re sipping your first morning coffee (or tea—a healthier option), stop your hand from grabbing the remote control and turning the TV on.
Raise your awareness of the nourishment you’re providing for your body.
Notice how the liquid flows through your body and how it transforms in an incredible fuel for your organism.
Go back and forth between paying attention to your drink and focusing on how your body responds to it.
After finishing your drink, stay still for a few more moments and then go ahead and start your day.
Pause and Feel
Before you carry out an action automatically, pause and focus on the action itself.
If you're getting dressed for work in the morning, don't just robotically put on your clothes. Pause and take a deep breath.
Feel the fabric.
How does it feel on your skin? How does it feel putting it on?
Does this piece of clothing evoke any feelings?
Is there a link to a special moment in your life when you were wearing it?
Engage All 5 Senses for 5 Minutes
Focus on the moment entirely, activating your five senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.
We often focus solely on that which we can see, which causes us to reduce our reality to visuals only.
If you’re outside, notice the greenery surrounding you, but then simply shift your focus to the smell of the pine trees and the sound of birds chirping.
You can start by doing this exercise for five minutes and then slowly increasing the time limit if you feel you’re ready to do so.
Mindfulness Isn’t a Chore!
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to take up too much of your time—it’s always about what makes you feel comfortable.
If you feel obliged to spend an hour or more meditating, practicing mindfulness will eventually feel like a chore and this is something you want to avoid.
You can start by including these quick exercises in your life and being patient with yourself.
Later, feel free to start meditating or coming up with your own exercises!