Nowadays, staying focused on present moment is getting harder and harder, especially with the so many changed and fast-paced life. No matter how we live our daily life; we find ourselves easily distracted by our thinking, emotions, physical sensations and feelings, that cause us to live either in the past or the future. This has made mindfulness to appear as a buzzword in today’s life, but not everyone finds it easy to practice mindfulness in everyday life. People are not able to build the habit of practicing mindfulness. If you are one of these people, the practices below will certainly help you to make mindfulness a part of your daily routine.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is when you put all your focus on something in the present moment. It is an exercise of living the present moment and concentrating on your emotions, feelings, thoughts and physical sensation without judging them. Practicing mindfulness gives you the opportunity to live the present moment in peace rather than returning to the past or get anxious about the future.
The Core of Mindfulness (3As of Being Mindful)
The core of mindfulness practices depends on the three things. These are called 3As of being mindful.
Attention to what is happening like feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensations in the present moment. Focusing on the body and mind at the same time.
awareness about all what is connected with you like yourself, surroundings, and people in your environment. This goes beyond making you aware of the materialistic things near you.
Having an attitude of not judging, being curious, accepting change, and being compassionate. Being open to lear and acquire new skills in life.
Practicing mindfulness has so many physical and mental health benefits such as:
• Brings you relaxation
• Lowers pain and decreases muscle tension
• Boosts your metabolism and helps in weight loss
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Increases your focus
• Supports your healthy lifestyle
• Boosts your happiness
• Increases your self awareness and self-confidence
• Fosters your well being
• Improves your lungs and heart-slows respiratory rate and lowers your blood pressure
• Boosts your immune system
• Fights aging
Mindfulness Practices #1 : Mindful Breathing
The main way to practice mindfulness is to do mindful breathing, which means to focus on your breath and how your body functions work everyday.
Find a position of relaxation to be comfortable. You can do this in the position of standing, but it is better to sit or even lie in a healthy position. You can sit on a chair or a pillow on the floor. Concentrate on your body, and focus on your breath while making the natural process of inhale and exhale.
You shouldn’t do anything about your breath like taking long or short breath. Just let it be natural and feel where the breath in your body. You might find it in your abdomen, chest, throat or nostrils. Try to know if you are able to feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. The air is warm or cool, the smell it has, the sound it produces. Notice all these without judgement.
Accept the fact that your mind might get distracted by some thoughts, and if this happened, redirect your focus right back to your breathing the moment you are aware of the distraction.
Practicing mindful breathing regularly can make you deal with though times easily. It helps you beat anxiety, anger and get calm at stressful situations.
Mindfulness Practices #2 : Mindful Hearing
Mindful hearing means attending all sounds that your ears receive in every moment. These sounds become the main cause that make you live the present moment.
Sit or stand where you feel yourself comfortable to practice mindful listening. Keep any physical distractions away from you like your smartphone, laptop and other devices. Close your eyes and listen carefully to the sounds around you.
Your surrounding environment decides what you hear like birds chirping, ticks of clock, cars honking or people talking. Listen to the sounds with a non-judgemental attitude. For example you should not label or name them, or decide whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.
There is a probability that you may get distracted by your thoughts. If you find yourself thinking about something else, bring your focus back on the sound. See which sound was responsible for that distraction.
Take 15 minutes everyday to do this exercise. Practicing this mindful hearing can help you decrease levels of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Mindfulness Practices #3 : Mindful Body Scan Practice
One of the best mindfulness practices is a body scan meditation, that helps you focus on your body, knowing different sensations while your mind analyses your whole body.
First, look for a comfortable place. Sit in a position that makes stretching your limbs easier or lie down. Close your eyes and start concentrating on your breath. Feel the sensation of the air filling and leaving your lungs during the process of inhale and exhale. After that, focus on your center forehead. Then gradually shift your focus towards your neck, left shoulder, left hand, left hip, left thigh and left foot. Focus on that area and continue taking a slow and deep breath. This applies also on the right shoulder, right hand, right hip, right thigh and right foot.
Let your awareness feel the sensations of pain, discomfort, tension, or anything that is not normal for you. Feel tightness or tingling in your skin and anything you feel in your bones and muscles. Give any spot of your body at least one minute to notice these sensations. Accept any pain or discomfort that you might observe, and acknowledge the emotions they might cause without any judgement. For example, if you notice that you are frustrated and angry, do not blame yourself for these feelings. Just notice them and let them go.
Practice this exercise for 30 minutes on a daily basis. By doing mindful meditation, you can reduce chronic pain, improves your sleeping, boost your body relaxation, and beat anxiety and stress.
Mindfulness Practices #4 : Mindful Walking
Mindful walking refers to the process of getting aware of all what surround you and how your body and mind feel while walking. There are many opportunities to practice mindful walking like moving between floors of a building, on a city street, or in the woods. You tend to become completely aware of your surroundings.
Choose to walk in a comfortable place. I personally do mindful walking in the morning walk. As you start, walk at a natural pace. With every step, focus on the lifting and falling of your foot, as well as the cushioning effect your shoes have on your toes and heels. Observe how your legs and your body move. Observe how your body change from one side to another.
If you feel that you have been distracted, get your focus back on the sensation of walking. Your mind will lose its attention, so without judgement, guide it back again whenever it is needed.
Another good way to practice mindful walking is to concentrate on the surroundings. You may know that although you walk in the same road, you never observed the beautiful flowers that the tree has. Notice the color and shape of the flowers on that tree.
Also, you can focus on the sounds you hear when you are walking without giving names to them, or deciding whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.
Mindfulness Practices #5 : Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is the moment when you keep a momentary awareness of the food and drink you consume. This makes you more aware of your eating habits. Focus more on what you are eating, and the feelings related to your senses like color, aroma, texture, taste and smell. Notice the feelings accompanied with eating food and what signals related to taste, satisfaction, and fullness your body sends you.
Find a calm place where you can eat without getting distracted. Do not use your smart phone or watch TV while eating. Before you start your meal, take a few deep breaths. Know your senses by observing what you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Keep noticing your senses while you are slowly chewing a bite of food. Focus on your senses like the color, aroma, texture, taste and smell. Observe to what extent you are hungry while eating. Continue the exercise of mindful eating until you feel that you are no longer hungry.
In conclusion, by practicing mindfulness regularly, you will have the ability to observe the thoughts in your mind and the feelings that you have, and have more awareness about your surroundings. Enjoying and living the present moments is like all skills that need training, time, and continous practice. Start now and adopt a new and fresh attitude towards life.