Many people are familiar with the word mindfulness or mindfulness practices. I would like to address a few simple ways to practice mindfulness because we know there are many benefits to implementing mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness practices focus on being in the present moment and feeling present at the moment.
1. One easy way to think about this is to do one thing at a time
For example, when you are eating, eat.
When you are talking to someone, be fully connected and aware in that moment.
When you are walking, walk.
How many of us could benefit from when you are driving, drive.
Think about being in the shower and checking to see if you are actually in the shower. While you are in the shower is your mind in your 9:00 meeting or a conversation from yesterday?
Once you have landed in this awareness and question of being present in the moment, you have accomplished a step towards mindfulness. So even when you are in the shower, be fully in that moment.
2. You can focus on your senses to practice mindfulness
Focus on everything you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel on your skin.
I often teach mindful walking as a way to begin practicing mindfulness. As you walk from your home to your car, from your car to your appointment, or from the store to your car, focus on everything you see, feel, hear, and smell. You can do this for 20 seconds and start accumulating the benefits of mindfulness practices.
Some research suggests that individuals do not need to spend large amounts of time in mindfulness practices to receive the benefits of mindfulness. You can find some of that research and more information in a book by Amishi P. Jha called Peak Mind.
Now you have two ways to begin your practice, doing one thing at a time and mindful walking.
3. You can expand your mindfulness practices with other practices such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
One of my favorite breathing exercises is called parasympathetic breathing. It is simple, easy to remember, and quick to implement. All you have to do is take a deep inhale as you do count how long your inhale was. Once you have that number, all you do next is double it. Use that number for the amount of time you exhale. So, if you inhale and count to 6, you will exhale until you get to 12. If you inhale and count to 8, then exhale until you get to 16.
There are multiple resources for yoga on YouTube. One of my recommendations is to search Yoga with Adriene. She has a large variety of videos ranging in length and focus. She has multiple 30 yoga challenges and is very informed as she walks you through different videos to build your yoga practice. There are meditation resources in the form of YouTube videos and smartphone applications such as Headspace and Calm.
I often encourage individuals to seek out yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises because we know the many benefits of these practices and their ability to regulate the nervous system and promote well-being.