What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a tool that we all have to help ourselves through the stresses of life. But the problem? Not many of us know how to practice mindfulness or know what mindfulness actually means. Keep reading to learn more about mindfulness and ways to incorporate mindfulness practice in your life.
What is Mindfulness?
First, let’s make sure we all have a basic understanding about mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of being completely in the moment, aware of your environment, your body, and your mind. You are aware of your thoughts and allow them to pass without judging or labeling them. This is a stark comparison to how we normally go about our lives, running from one thing to the next, usually fully unaware of our minds until the thoughts pile up and explode.
What Can Mindfulness Practice Help With?
Mindfulness is a practice, which means it is something we all have to work on consistently. It is not a one and done kind of thing. Finding ways to incorporate mindfulness practice into your day will help you to:
Be more aware of yourself
Have better control of your behaviors
Feel happier with daily life
Be more in the moment
Handle stress more effectively
Lower anxiety and depression
Get more work done!
How Do You Practice Mindfulness?
There are numerous ways to practice mindfulness, the key is to find what works best for you!
Here are some of the most common ways that people practice mindfulness:
Mindful eating is all about actually focusing on the food that you’re eating, rather than just shoveling it down and moving on. With mindful eating, you take note on how the food looks, smells, feels, and tastes. To check out a mindful eating activity, scroll to the end of this blog.
Journaling helps you to capture what happened in your day as well as how you are feeling. When journaling, you need to be aware of your thoughts and feelings in order to accurately capture the events of the day. A highly popular (and effective) form of journaling is gratitude journaling. This form is focused around writing a few things that occurred in the day that you are grateful for, no matter how big or small.
This practice increases our awareness of how our bodies are doing throughout the day. Our minds and bodies are intricately connected, with mental stress often affecting our bodies. This can manifest in many ways, including nausea, muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue. Taking the time to check in with your body allows you to see what areas feel tense, what is hurting, what feels good, and how your current mental state may be influencing these feelings.
Using Mindfulness Objects
This will be covered in a future blog, but there are several objects that can be used to help with mindfulness practice. These objects are used as something to focus on as we bring our awareness back to ourselves. They are awesome for those of us just beginning our mindfulness practice, children, and anyone who is in an escalated mental state (e.g. very angry, anxious, or panicked).
Meditation is the most commonly recognized form of mindfulness practice, and is likely the first thing many of us picture when we think of mindfulness. Meditation is based in mindfulness and is a true exercise for improving our mindfulness skills. For beginners, the thought of meditation may seem daunting, but have no fear! There are many online resources for guided meditations as well as books https://justsit.com/ to help you get started. Begin with just a few minutes per day and slowly increase the frequency over time. Check out the video below for a ten minute guided meditation.