Mindfulness is a practice, which involves paying active attention to the present moment. When practicing mindfulness, you focus completely on what is happening in your body, during whatever activity that you may be doing. This includes observing thoughts, emotions and physical sensations without judgment. Mindfulness helps you fully awaken and live in the present moment and accept what is happening without resistance or struggle.
Mindfulness practices, which are believed to have originated from Buddhist philosophy, have been studied scientifically. Research has shown a number of benefits associated with mindfulness including:
– Boosts the immune system
– Reduces stress and increases positive emotions
– Improves focus and memory
– Helps reduce symptoms of various psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, addiction and eating disorders among others
– Can help people with chronic pain conditions
– Increases self awareness
These are just a few of the many benefits of mindfulness. If you are feeling like you might be experiencing dejavu right now, and read my last blogpost about meditation, that’s because the benefits are very similar. In fact, meditation is one form of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness, however, can be practiced in many different ways.
Here is a list of 5 simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life and reap its benefits:
- In the shower – Make a mindfulness ritual out of your daily shower by fully taking your attention to your body sensations. Feel the water cascading down your scalp and body. Notice how the water temperature and pressure feel on your skin. Smell the scent of your shampoo or soap. Feel the touch of your hands or loofah on your body as you lather up. Notice any feelings or emotions that may come up without judgment. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the moment. You could apply the same principals to a bath if you prefer.
- Washing hands – I’m a big fan of mindfulness practices associated with water. Every time you wash your hands, apply the above shower principles of feeling the sensation, temperature and pressure of the water running over your hands. Smell the soap and feel how slippery it is and how easily it rinses off. Feel the sensation of your hands touching each other. Enjoy being present in the moment.
- Mindful Breathing – Taking 3 deep mindful breaths, focusing on the physical sensation of the breath in your body. A good way to incorporate the 3 breaths into your day is to choose a specific activity, that you do regularly, such as using the restroom, getting into or out of your car, or before you start a meal. I try to take several mindful breaths when I am feeling stressed out and not in the present moment. It brings me back every time.
- Eating mindfully – This is a great practice that deserves an entire blog post of its own. Whenever you are eating, take the time to really connect with what you are doing. Notice the smell and temperature of your food, feel the consistency of it in your mouth. Take time to fully chew each bite (this is a great practice that improves digestions as well). Notice all of the different flavors and textures. When you swallow, feel the food passing down your esophagus. Notice how it feels in your stomach. Also notice if you are still hungry after each bite or if you are satisfied. If you are no longer experiencing hunger, your body is satisfied and won’t need any more food until you are feeling hungry again
- Gratitude – Either first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, think about three things that you are grateful for in your life. As you focus on each thing, truly feel the gratitude in your body and in your heart. Notice any physical sensations that arise in your body as you focus on gratitude.
I’d love to hear what your favorite mindfulness practices are. Please comment below to share.
© Copyright 2014 Vanessa Naja/Holistic Moving