• Five Simple Ways to Practice Mindfulness

    December 18, 2017 • GUIDES, LIFE

    How to practice mindfulness

    What is mindfulness and how does it help you?

    Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to what is happening in the current moment. In other words, it is being fully present in the moment, aware of where you are and what you’re doing. The theory is that you are not overwhelmed or ‘future thinking’ while being mindful. In effect you aren’t ruminating over problems and worries while you are simply paying attention to the current moment.

    Mindfulness can be cultivated through meditation and daily practice. There is even evidence that it positively affects the structure of your brain after practicing for a while. Mindfulness assists you to recognise and help your emotional state.

    Five ways to practice mindfulness each day

    Here are simple ways you can incorporate mindfulness in to your day:

    Daily meditation

    A good way of starting on your mindfulness journey is to practice a mindfulness meditation every day. Don’t worry it’s not difficult or time consuming. All is takes is setting aside 5 to 10 minutes every day, perhaps in a comfy chair. All you have to do is bring attention to your breathing. Notice your in and out breaths. Your mind will wander, guaranteed, but all you have to do is bring it back to your breathing. And thus, you’ve started on the path to mindfulness. A small practice like this everyday has a positive effect on your mental state and energy levels.

    How to practice mindfulness

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    Walk it out

    Walking is something that most of us are able to do. We walk a lot, sometimes even getting out in the neighbourhood or nature, specifically for a ‘walk’. This is great and is quite a mindful activity in and of itself. But we can make it even more mindful.

    Firstly, stand up straight but not uptight or stiff. Notice your feet on the ground and where your weight is.

    Place your hands wherever they feel comfortable. Perhaps or your tummy, behind your back or at your sides.

    As you start walking, notice the fall of your foot, from heel to toe and how it feels. Walk at your natural pace. Do this with each step on both legs.

    You might find it easier to count from one to ten with each step and then start at one again.

    Again, your mind will wander – this is normal. But all you have to do is bring your attention to your steps. It’s that easy. You have then incorporated a mindfulness meditation into your daily walk. Health for body and mind.

    How to practice mindfulness

    Mindful Thoughts For Walkers, Footnotes On The Zen Path is a powerful reading companion for rural and urban walkers alike. This book explores through a series of succint meditations, how walking is an opportunity to deepen our levels of physical and spiritual awareness. Find it online here >

    Food on the brain

    Mindful eating has a raft of benefits other than meditation. However, easing your stress and meditation is definitely high on the list. Traditional eastern medicine practitioners exalt mindful eating to aid digestion and health.

    It also helps to control your eating habits and binge eating. Being mindful while eating brings your attention to the sensations your body experiences while eating and clears your mind. It also helps you respond more healthily to your cravings and cues for eating. This could be super helpful for mental and body health over the silly season and into the New Year.

    How to practice mindfulness

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    Escape your worries

    Travel is oftentimes the ultimate escape. A break from the daily routine or grind and a chance to see or experience a new culture or place. Many of us travel to visit relatives or just escape the madness at at certain times of the year. But travel can be a busy exercise. There’s pets to place in care, a house to be looked after, planes to catch or distances to drive. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of it.

    Travel can be done in a mindful way. This will not only enhance your experience of a new place but will enhance your mental health.

    The key is to be open to the new experiences, smells, sights and sounds. Embrace the difference. Also, don’t overload your schedule so you can give each experience your full attention and thus savour it more while reducing stress. Schedule one activity or sight a day.

    People watching is a great way of being mindful. Just sitting at a café and watching the passing parade can be a super relaxing way to switch your brain away from worries.

    Just paying attention to your surroundings can heighten the experience. A visit to a monument will forever be remembered if you just take it in and be aware of what you’re experiencing in the moment.

    How to practice mindfulness

    Are you looking for a more meaningful travel experience? Do you want to give back to the communities you visit, make a genuine connection with locals, meet like-minded travelers and build your skills? Find Volunteer: A Traveller’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World online here >

    Connecting with your senses

    This is sensuality in the true sense of the word. Using all of your senses to be aware of the environment and how you respond to it. For example, while walking, instead of just concentrating on breath or steps (like in walking mindfulness) you are noticing birds tweeting, leaves crunching underfoot, muscle spasms in your body, your breath, the wind in your hair. The list is endless. By being aware of these sensations, at any point in your day, you are connecting your senses and thereby being mindful.

    How to practice mindfulness

    From no time to me time, Peace of Mind a book of calm for busy mums everywhere. Containing colouring in, mindful exercises, meditations, craft ideas and more.

    Find all our books on mindful living here >

    With these tips on mindfulness the holiday season and New Year can be a gentler, more vivid experience. Let us know how you practice this simple skill.