Incorporating Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
By Allison England, AMFT
What do you think of when you hear the word mindfulness?
Perhaps you imagine temples, meditation, monks, and the Buddha…and yes, these are the origins of mindfulness, but how do we incorporate the beneficial components of Buddhist teaching into our very busy lives?
In its simplest form, mindfulness is the practice of being non-judgmental and fully present in the here and now. Let’s explore some practical ways to increase mindfulness…
Go for a Mindful Walk
Give a nod to that old saying “take some time to stop and smell the roses” and make space in your day and get some fresh air and fully immerse yourself in the world around you. Use all your senses to notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Take some time to really notice and observe the information coming through your senses.
Breathing is a powerful component of being calm and grounded. Deep exhales can encourage your body to slow down and rest. Many feel instantly calmer after a quick session of mindful breathing. To get the full effect of mindful breaths, get in a comfortable position and breathe deeply into your belly, noticing it rise and expand. Release your breath very slowly through pursed lips and notice your belly fall. Notice your body resting deeper into the chair or floor that is supporting you. Repeat several times, being fully present with your breath each time. If thoughts or body sensations interrupt, just notice them without judgment.
Many of us run around forgetting to eat or rush through a meal. Make meals a time to fully connect with the moment. Notice the smell of your food, slow down and notice the texture of your food, observing and describing its appearance. As you take a bite, notice the weight of the food in your mouth, notice the texture as you bite into it and fully savor each bite. Visualize each bite you take recharging your “battery”.
Just for fun, if you’d like to see an awkward, but accurate, tutorial to mindful eating…check this out https://youtu.be/7CCr5w3ox_4
Have fun with creating a mindfulness practice that you incorporate each day!