You’ve probably noticed that the word “mindfulness” is popping up everywhere. Even though mindfulness meditation has been around for millennia, the practice of mindfulness has been steadily gaining the attention of the medical and mental health community.
Mindful awareness is about being in the moment-to-moment experience of our thoughts, perceptions, feelings and body sensations with openness, curiosity, and acceptance.
In the last three decades, there are more and more studies that are determining that when people practice mindfulness on a regular basis, they experience dynamic changes in their ability to concentrate, the managing of both mental and physical pain, capacity to enjoy life as well as an improved overall sense of well-being. Regular mindfulness practices have even been shown to prevent depression.
Here are 10 practical tips to start being more mindful today!
- Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Sense the flow of the breath, as it enters your nostrils, expands your chest and stomach and then how it feels as you exhale.
- Practice listening without judgmental thoughts
- Observe what activities in which you “zone-out” (driving, emailing, texting, being online, being on social media, washing dishes, doing laundry, brushing teeth, etc.). Then practice being more aware during these activities.
- When walking, feel how your feet land on the ground, how your weight shifts, and focus on where you are going.
- When eating, notice the color, texture, and taste of the food.
- When your mind wanders, simply bring it back by focusing on your breath.
- Don’t always fill your calendar with tasks. Make entries throughout your week to take mindful breaks.
- Become aware that your thoughts are simply that, just thoughts. There is no need to believe them or react to them.
- Spend time in Nature, doing nothing.
- When driving, begin to notice things that you normally don’t pay attention to.
Mindful awareness is about being in the moment-to-moment experience of our thoughts, perceptions, feelings and body sensations with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. We can develop understanding and insight from repeatedly observing our experience in this way.
These benefits, of course, only come with hard work on the part of the participants, who must commit to a daily practice of meditation whether they feel like it or not. Start right now!