I have been learning about mindfulness for my own benefit for just over five years now. It has taken me a LONG time to put these skills into practice so believe me when I tell you I also thought it was silly to try breathing exercises when I was angry or trying to think logically when I was sad. It feels silly but remember that silly can sometimes work!
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being present in the moment and focusing your thoughts on what is happening in the here and now.
Why Should we Practice Mindfulness?
Some benefits include reducing anxiety, depression, chronic pain, stress, and mindfulness can even help improve sleep. It’s very hard to be mindful with many distractions, and sometimes we even forget to check in on ourselves. Once we break out of feeling guilty for slowing down and being mindful, it gets easier and more comfortable to take pauses.
5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness:
- Check in on Your Body
Take a pause and think about how you’re feeling physically. Do you notice tension? Where is it coming from? If you bring your attention to your body, it can help bring you back to the present and connect with the information you’re observing about your body so that you can take better care of yourself.
- Use Your Five Senses
Start using all your senses to observe what is going on around you. This can also be called grounding. Start to describe what smells are around you, the noises, and even touch an object near you and describe what it feels like.
- Focus on Your Breathing
You breathe with or without consciously thinking about it. Start to notice your breathing. Take five deep breaths and focus your attention on inhaling and exhaling. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 5, breathe out for 4, hold for 5. Do this boxed breathing activity to help bring yourself to the present.
- Observe and Describe Your Thoughts
As scary as it may feel, take a pause and start to notice your thoughts. What do you notice? Sometimes our brains are running a mile a minute and it’s important to slow it down when we can.
- Mindful Eating
When you eat your meals, you could try to just eat. Try not to watch YouTube, work, or read. Try to be present and focused on eating. Notice your chewing, the sensations, or the taste. Try to describe what the food tastes like.