You may only think of mindfulness as how you interact with and talk to others, but it is so much more than that!
The dictionary describes it in a few different ways, with the first being, “The state or quality of being mindful or aware of something” and “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations, but not judging them.”
If you’re a person with an incredibly busy brain, practicing mindfulness can help focus your energy on the things that matter. You gain the ability to inform your conscience when enough is enough and when it’s important to be in the present and not wrapped up in thoughts of the past and the future. Here are some tips on how you can practice mindfulness and the benefits therein.
1. Make Time For Gratitude
Gratitude is the very simple act of expressing thanks for the things you have in your life and even when you are having a tough day knowing that there are always things to be grateful for. There are 3 easy ways that you can practice gratitude daily; creating a gratitude journal, a gratitude jar, or making a list of ten things that you’re grateful for every morning or night. By practicing gratitude, you are made aware of what makes you happy and what you are grateful for in that moment, which supports the idea of being present.
I took a yoga class in college with some friends and I really enjoyed the relaxation parts of the class at the beginning and end. At the end of class we would often practice Pranayama breathing in order to further our practice and understanding of yoga beyond the positions. Concentrating on your breath and nothing else seems like an easy task but it can be quite tricky depending if you’ve got anything on your mind. Focusing on your breathing helps you to be present and gradually drown out your thoughts so you can exist in the here and now.
There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness meditation. It has been proven that mindfulness meditation can lower stress, change the brain in a protective way, and help you sleep better among many other benefits. Try choosing a mindfulness meditation video from YouTube depending on how much time you have (for instance, a 10-minute mindfulness meditation video). Lie down on a yoga mat or blanket, close your eyes, and listen intently to the voiceover. Like anything, the more you practice, the easier it gets and it becomes easier to focus solely on the voiceover and dismiss distracting thoughts.
4. Be Aware
Engaging your senses can help you become more aware, which will help you on your path to mindfulness. You can do this by giving yourself a hug, interacting with a pet, or smelling a flower. If your mind and body feel really out of line, then do something bigger such as swimming, going for a run, or touching something really cold to give yourself a jolt back into your body and out of your head.
5. Watch the World Around You
The art of people-watching has been around for quite some time. There’s something so pleasant about sitting in a coffee shop or park and watching people go about their everyday lives and imagining who they are, what their hobbies are, and what they might do for a living. From my own experience, taking time out of your day to people-watch is an activity that is rooted in mindfulness: You are taking a step outside of yourself and your ego to observe other people in that exact moment in time. Plus, it’s rather relaxing.
6. Control Your Thoughts
If you are a worrywart, you may sometimes find it a challenge to get out of your own head. In my opinion, mindfulness means appreciating each second and giving yourself entirely to the moment you are in and you can’t do that if you’re wrapped up in thought with the lights on and nobody home.
However if your mind is escalating into a thought-frenzy, take control of the situation and do some exercise which will release endorphins and help to reign in your manic brain. Then you can give yourself completely to the moment you are experiencing and enjoy it.
7. Take 10
We often take more time to look after our material possessions and our own appearance rather than giving our mind the break it needs. If the mind is always on the go we get stressed and then we need to find methods for dealing with this stress. So give your brain a 10 minute time out so you can refresh your mind and keep it working at its best.
We hope these tips can help you to not be lost in thought, be less distracted, & not be so overwhelmed by difficult emotions, but instead learn how to be in the here and now!