We often associate mindfulness with having a special place, time to yourself and complicated mindfulness techniques, but you don’t need any of these to be mindful. Mindfulness is simply a state of being present and you can practice it anywhere. If you’re not sure how to do it, here are some simple ways to get started.
1. Deep breaths
Whether you’re at work, with your kids or stuck in traffic, there’s always an opportunity to take a few deep breaths and focus on the way the air is flowing in and out of your lungs. Notice the sound of your breath, the temperature of the air and the way it fills your belly (not chest!).
2. Engage the senses
- Look around and notice what you see without judgement. Don’t sort things into interesting and boring, beautiful and ordinary. Simply notice what’s there.
- Then concentrate on what you hear, even sounds that you’d normally block out. Do you hear the birds singing? The traffic in the distance? People talking?
- Next, notice things you can feel – the pressure of your feet against the floor, a slight breeze, discomfort in your shoulders.
- Turn to the sense of smell. What does the air around you smell like? Finally, notice the taste in your mouth.
3. Eat mindfully
Most of us just eat when the time comes to eat and combine food with other tasks to save time. As a result we eat too much of the wrong kind of food or forget about meals altogether. Instead, practice tuning into your body to check if you’re hungry and what kind of food you’d like to eat. Then take your time to notice the colour, the texture and the smell of the food you’ve chosen. Chew it slowly and concentrate fully on your experience.
As you can see, mindfulness doesn’t have to be hard and time-consuming. Anyone can use these mindfulness techniques and experience the benefits without taking too much extra time out of their day.
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