The word mindfulness has been floating around recently and has gained popularity over the past year. We hear a lot about being mindful but what exactly does it mean. I often speak about being mindful in my practises and the techniques I use but I never said exactly what it is. For some of you reading this, you might have never come across this word or have been hearing it floating about but didn’t know the definition; while others might be very knowledgable in the practise of mindfulness. My advice is to still have a read of this post, sometimes we have all the knowledge but find it hard to express ourselves outwardly. the key is to simply break it down and start from the beginning. You will get more out of it from looking through new eyes.
What is mindfulness?
Being mindful is about clearing any pre-existing thoughts and troubles and focusing on the now. Being present in the moment. Tuning into your mind and body and viewing from a non judgemental perspective of how you feel. Just like checking up on ourselves at the start or end of the day, every now and then throughout the day we need to be mindful of ourselves. This practise can take place anywhere, preferably somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, this can be in the shower, in the car, walking etc. It is your time where you are alone with yourself, experiencing what you can see and feel with the intent of relaxation.
At first you might find difficulties with trying to silence the mind from overthinking but if you set your intention on 5 things you can see, what you can hear and what you can smell. Your brain automatically shifts into a set of focus and calms the body. Breathing deeply and slowly also ties into the practise of mindfulness and is one of the techniques I find to be the most effective.
As mentioned before they are many techniques you can use through the art of mindfulness. Below I will list a few of my favourites.
A great technique I love is mindful walking. Whenever I feel like I need fresh air I go to my local park and take a slow walk. With each step I focus on the things I see, what new birds I haven’t seen before or what is new. This get me out of my head and more into my body while straying from the thoughts that cause me stress or anxiety. Another great tip is while walking, make sure to notice each person who passes by and look at them in the eye and smile. The power of smiling is infectious!
This is one that I do the least but every time I use this technique I absolutely love it. When we eat we tend to get distracted by certain things such as the TV, phone or other people. However, the technique of mindful eating is to appreciate the food in front of us. Taking small bites out of our meal and consciously tasting the flavours and consistency in our mouth; is it sweet, it it salty? Noting these feelings has proven to slow down the pace on how fast we eat and makes us truly appreciate the food we have.
We all know how to breathe and take our bodies for granted for automatically doing what is does. When we feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious our breathing tends to get shallow and shorter. Through deep and slow mindful breathing we relax the body making it less tense and have a sense of peace and clarity. I even use this technique when I am not stressed, as I realise I do not breath in deep enough ( especially when I’m busy), it just stops me in my tracks and reminds me to listen to my body and breathe.
I would love to hear other techniques that you enjoy practising. Feel free to share in the comments!
Stay Grounded X