Mindfulness is the act of living in the moment and being aware of your surroundings and behaviour while focusing on the now and the present. It is a philosophy as well as a way of life that encourages active engagement and concentration on the present moment, taking each moment with complete command and control of your thoughts and actions.
The most basic aim of mindfulness is to bring positivity and accountability to our lives for a more immersive living experience and better control of our actions and circumstances. It is a means of making our lives healthier and more productive by actively working towards the state we want to achieve with complete dedication.
We can easily incorporate mindfulness into our busy routines and daily life by investing some time in mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to slowly train our mind and body for the most effective application of mindfulness over time.
I hope you find this post helpful and the benefits of Mindfulness have a positive impact on your life. This is the ultimate guide to practicing mindfulness for beginners.
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What is Mindfulness?
To keep it simple, being mindful means remaining present. Despite the hectic nature of our modern-day world, practicing mindfulness encourages self-awareness, acceptance, and taking in the moment. It allows you to truly focus on what you’re doing right now.
Mindfulness stems from ancient Buddhist meditation teachings, but Jon Kabat-Zinn adapted the concept in 1979. Over the last few years, mindfulness has gained a lot of popularity. This may be due to more mainstream coverage, publications like Mindful, and the power of social media!
After doing some research, I also found that mindfulness is often used in therapy. This is because it’s thought to help with anxiety and stress!
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness has a lot of benefits for your overall well-being. It could easily be another blog post (maybe in future) – here are a few important points.
Mindfulness increases focus
We have a lot of things to cross off our to-do list every day. It would be simple if we could finish one by one easily. But I find that whenever I am ready to do a task, I am reminded of something else that needs to be done. It makes me anxious because it is unfinished. Then I feel the stress rising. I am not able to concentrate on the current task. I feel overwhelmed. In such moments, I do a mindfulness meditation exercise. It calms my mind and helps me relax. I am able to concentrate on the task at hand better.
Mindfulness helps you increase focus and concentration because you are making an effort to bring your attention to the present moment repeatedly. It even has the power to change your brain. The effect of mindfulness practice can last long even w n you are not consciously doing it because new neuron connections are formed through neuroplasticity. It’s amazing, right?
Mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety
When you practice mindfulness you are more aware of your thoughts. So, if any thought comes up that gives you stress you try to acknowledge it. You say to yourself “Ok. This is stressing me out. Back to the task”. So you get to respond to your negative thoughts rather than being controlled by it. You can choose to step back from them as you are mindful of your emotional state. You acknowledge your thoughts and you are able to respond rather than react to it.
Mindfulness improves physical health
Research has proved that our brain has the ability to influence the body’s inflammatory responses. Our brain and immune system are interconnected. Mindfulness can be used as a pathway to train our brain to control stress reaction and prevent a lot of stress based diseases. It also improves your memory retention, promotes heart health, improves the quality of sleep, etc.
But how do you become more mindful? How to incorporate mindfulness in daily life? Read on.
Why practice mindfulness?
Over the years, many benefits of mindfulness have been scientifically proven. For example, being mindful improves your mood and enhances your creativity and it also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It also makes you more focused as you train your brain to remove distractions and concentrate on one task.
But Mindfulness also helps you to slow down and stop rushing, to stop dwelling on the past but focusing on the present. You’ll notice that you’re enjoying the little moments and appreciating life more, because you’re actively concentrating on being in the moment.
What are Mindfulness techniques?
Mindfulness isn’t always about meditation. It can be very easily incorporated with daily activities. However, practicing Mindfulness Meditation can certainly help in bringing the focus back to the present moment. Thus, making mindfulness, a part of the lifestyle.
So, what are Mindfulness techniques? Mindfulness techniques are any activity or practice that you perform in a mindful way. Now, you can perform everything in a mindful way. But there are some activities that are easier to be mindful in than others.
And it’s these mindful activities that I am going to share in this post. Now let’s jump into the details of the Mindfulness techniques that you can implement into your everyday life!
A couple of great channels from YouTube for mindfulness content, are as followed:
Practicing Mindfulness for Beginners – Ultimate Guide!
Mindfulness meditation is practiced by focusing the mind on the present and keeping your thoughts from wandering into the past and future. It focuses on breath awareness to draw attention to your body, open up your senses and anchor you into the present and your immediate surroundings.
- Sit comfortably with your upper body straight but do not stiffen.
- Relax and pay attention to what every part of your body is doing like how your legs are positioned and where your arms lay.
- You may close your eyes if you need help getting more focused and relaxed, but it’s not necessary.
- Gently inhale and exhale, getting into the rhythm of your breath noticing how each part of your body reacts and what you’re currently feeling.
- Open your eyes and with a soft gaze, notice your surroundings using your senses, without allowing your mind to wander. See your surroundings and free yourself of any judgment.
There’s no need to wait until stress rises to use breathing methods for well-being. You experience balance and harmony when your breaths are of equal length and depth. As inhaling and exhaling uniformly are the natural response to inner peace, your brain thinks you are relaxed even when you breathe this way intentionally. Take deep, even breaths throughout the day to preserve well-being.
Don’t judge or react to your thoughts
Our minds can run away with themselves. Reacting to these thoughts can cause anxiety and stress. We can feel guilty or ashamed of our thoughts. But what if we just allowed those thoughts to pass gently? Without judging them as they arise? Take a few minutes to focus on your thoughts. Notice them coming and going without judging and labelling.
If you do judge or react to any thoughts, acknowledge that, and then gently let the thought pass. Being mindful in this way helps you to develop an awareness and understanding of how your thoughts affect you, and how you can better control your thoughts every day.
Awareness of your bodily sensations
So often we live in our heads and we completely forget about our body, unless of course, we are in distress. And here’s the problem: We think that our mind is completely separate from our physical body. But it’s not.
To become aware of your body, send your breath to different parts and acknowledge those body parts.
- Notice the tingling in your fingers
- Release the stress in your stomach
- Become aware of the top of your head and the tension in your neck
Becoming aware of your body will bring you into the present moment. It will fine-tune your senses and quiet the mind.
I also recommend the following books to read for Mindfulness, these books are amazing and I cannot recommend them enough.
Noticing your thoughts
Whenever you are meditating, it’s normal that thoughts will enter your mind and sometimes your mind may wander – that’s ok. But, whenever you notice a thought, not just in mediation, just observe it, acknowledge it, and then let it pass. And bring your attention back to your breath.
Tune into your emotions
Move your focus inside your body and try to notice any emotions you can feel in your body. Maybe some anxiety in our chest, fear in your stomach or happiness in your heart. If you notice something, just observe the sensation. Is it heavy or light? What shape is it? Is it moving? Does it have a colour? Is it changing? Spend as long as you like just observing the feeling. And if you can’t notice anything, that’s okay as well. Don’t put pressure on yourself, just try it again next time.
Tune into your touch
Start by noticing the sensation of the air on your nostrils. Observe the temperature as it enters and leaves – does it change? Then move to your face, can you feel a breeze or any other sensations on your face? Now, try to feel your hair touching your head. And then focus on your shirt touching your shoulders, your bottom touching the seat and your hands touching your lap. And finally, focus on your feet and feel them connecting with the ground.
Tune into your hearing
Focus all your attention on your hearing – what sounds can you notice? Start with the sounds close to you and work your way further out. When you notice these sounds, just observe them. Notice the way they appear and disappear into silence.
Tune into your smell
Take a few deep breaths and focus on your sense of smell. What smells can you notice in the air?
Tune into your taste
What tastes are in your mouth? Maybe you will notice saliva and need to take a swallow.
Softly open your eyes and blue your vision
Slightly open your eyes so you are squinting and your vision is blurred. Don’t sharpen your focus on anything, just notice the different shapes and colours and how wide your field of vision is. Tune into your sense of vision for about 30 seconds. Then close your eyes again and bring your attention back to your breathing.
Progressive muscle relaxation
A great mindfulness activity for just before bed is progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation involves taking a moment to check in with your body by paying attention to how it feels, one muscle group at a time. This involves lying down and then clenching or flexing your toes for ten seconds or so and then releasing. Focus on how the area feels and then move up to flex your ankle and your calves. This can be very relaxing but it can also help you to identify areas that might need a good stretch or a light massage.
Take a mindful walk
Being in nature is one of the easiest ways for me to be mindful in everyday life. I regularly take my dog for a walk over the local lake. When I’m there, I take deep breaths, taking in the fresh air. I listen to the sounds, watch the birds, and I enjoy the smells. Depending on what weather it is, the lake always smells differently.
If you don’t have the luxury of local lake, try take a walking break during the day and go to a park or the woods/forest. Notice everything around you and enjoy. You’ll return to everyday life recharged and with a fresh mind.
Doing laundry, washing dishes & cleaning
Try dishwashing, cleaning and doing laundry a little bit slower than you usually do, focus your entire attention on what you’re doing and be aware of your body movements. Pay attention to when your mind wanders, go back to what you’re doing and become aware of your body movements. Repeat if necessary. Pay attention to possible after-effects.
Take a mindful shower
Being mindful doesn’t require much effort. You can be mindful with every little task. Try to take a mindful shower. Feel the water touching your skin and notice the temperature of the water. Focus on smell of the soap, it will give a calming effect. Listen as the water hits your skin and falls on the floor. Touch your skin and notice what this is like for you.
Pay attention to your feelings. Do fresh? Be aware of your thoughts and feelings as you do this. This will also enhance the need to care for yourself, which is a very good practice for your personal wellbeing.
Choose something small, like a stone, a leaf or a flower. If you can hold it in your hands and take a good look at it and try to observe everything about it. Focus all of your attention on it. Notice the items appearance, what size is it? what shape is it? What colours can you see? Does the item have different textures? Do not assess the item or judge it just observe it for what it is.
Practicing Mindfulness for Beginners – Final thought
I can’t tell you that your life will change instantly but I can tell you how my life has changed. Since I began practicing Mindfulness I have become so much more aware. I’m aware of other people’s feelings, I notice the beauty in life and because of this I can appreciate this life a lot more.
I don’t let the little things get to me so much, I can take a breath and realise that I don’t need to react to this situation. In reality my life hasn’t changed, the things that used to stress me out are still there for the main part.
It’s how I choose to respond to these stressors that is different. The change is within me, not life that happens around me. That’s the beauty of Mindfulness you don’t need to take on the world, just yourself.
I would recommend to anyone to give Mindfulness a try. Do you have any other Mindfulness activities you would like to share? I look forward to hearing them. If you have any questions please reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, wellbeing, addiction recovery and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!