Mindfulness Can be for Everyone
Mindfulness is not just a buzzword. In fact, it has been gaining more and more traction since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic because of it’s incredible health benefits. Practicing mindfulness has been linked to reduced stress levels, enhanced immune function, a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and an improved ability for your cells to defend against free radicals. According to Harvard Health, practicing everyday mindfulness can also improve your memory and concentration skills and help you feel less distracted and better able to handle crises like dealing with the pandemic.
While these benefits should be enough to convince anyone to start practicing mindfulness, there is a perceived notion that mindfulness is time consuming and difficult to incorporate into everyday life. The truth is quite the opposite! There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, with some methods taking as little as one minute. You can also tailor your practice to fit your needs and skill level, starting with one minute a day and working all the way to a 30-minute mindfulness meditation session. All mindfulness techniques aim to achieve a state of alert, focused, relaxed consciousness by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without passing judgment on them. This allows the mind to focus on the present moment with an attitude of acceptance. Keep reading to discover a few simple ways you can start practicing mindfulness today!
Listed below are some of our favorite ways to practice mindfulness that anyone can incorporate into their day!
Quick Meditation: This is a great place to start if you haven’t practiced mindfulness before. This method will help train your brain how to think when practicing mindfulness. Follow the steps below to try it out!
- Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
- Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
- Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas. Embrace and consider each without judgment.
- If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.
- Take as much time as you like: one minute, or five, or 10 — whatever you’re comfortable with.
A Mindful Wake Up: This method is a great way to start your day with purpose. When done first thing in the morning, you will notice that mindfulness helps you have a more positive and productive day!
- Start as soon as you wake up. Remain in bed with your eyes closed.
- Remember that intention is the underlying motivation for so many things in life and take a moment to set your intention for the day.
- Focusing your thoughts on how you can align your words, actions, and responses to be more mindful and support your intentions.
- Take a deep breath and exhale before getting out of bed and starting your day.
Driving Towards Mindfulness: The next time you get in your car, try “driving towards mindfulness.” Whether you are stuck in traffic, waiting at a red light, or just moving slower than you’d like to be, take a moment to try this quick mindfulness technique:
- Take a deep breath and when you exhale, relax your shoulders.
- Then roll your shoulder and neck to reduce tension.
- Recognize that all the drivers around you are in the same position and understand that everyone has places they need to be.
- Focus on the present moment and actively let go of any stress you may be feeling.
Taking a Pause: When it comes to daily habits, so many of us can operate on “autopilot” without having to really think about the task at hand. At any point during the day, take a moment to pause your brain and be more mindful.
- Start by taking a step back from whatever you are doing and close your eyes.
- Think about the task you are doing, why it is important and how it is supporting either you or others.
- Then, think about a way you can mix up your routine that day.
- Whether it is a new route to or from work, switching up your lunch routine, or trying a new running route, recognizing you are on autopilot and actively changing your routine will help you become more mindful of your surroundings and life.