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Do you live your life mindfully? Do you know what it means to live mindfully?Well, not everyone does so I will give you a great place to begin to work on living a mindful life.
Most of us are so wrapped up in our busy lives that we really aren’t aware of what is going on around us. We don’t stop long enough to breathe. Have you ever been in a store and a person is in such a hurry that they run right over you like you weren’t even there? That is because they didn’t see you. That is because they are not taking the time to smell the roses. They are rush, rush, rush, and many of us run through life this way. We run around from place to place like chickens with our heads cut off.
We don’t have to live this way. All this rushing is making us ill and unhappy. Let’s take a quick look at what mindfulness is and some of the benefits before I give you a few ways to begin practicing.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being aware of your surroundings. It is also being in the moment (right now) and bringing ones attention to experiences in the present moment. Also it means being fully present in what we are doing in every area of our life. It is the act of being fully present in each moment with kindness and without judgment
Some of the benefits of mindful living.
- Better focus and concentration
- Less stress and anxiety
- Clearer thinking
- Better health
- Lower blood pressure
- Higher awareness of present moment
- Happiness Increases
- Increased self awareness
- Better awareness of your surroundings
I know what you are thinking. Yes, lots of benefits but I don’t have time. Well, yes you do. I will give you a few exercises that you can practice anywhere you are and lots of times a day. Before you know it you will be healthier and happier and have much clearer focus than ever before.
Now before we begin I want to say that getting to the place where you are living mindfully and reaping the benefits takes practice. Not just weekly practice but daily practice. You must practice daily.
Start off slowly and pick one or two of the practices and begin practicing daily. You can add more later. Most of these you can incorporate right into your day.
Five daily mindfulness practices
Meditation – To begin the practice of mindful meditation, find a quiet place free of distractions. Set a timer for five minutes or ten minutes or however long you would like to start with and sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair. Then close your eyes and connect with your breath by focusing on your breathing without trying to direct it. Your breath is your anchor to the present moment. When your mind wanders off in thought just bring focus back to your breath.
Here is a great suggestion I found online to help to keep the mind from wondering.
To help, the Zen Mountain Monastery suggests that beginners count their breaths. Count one breath in, one breath out, and continue through 10 breaths, then return to one again. This process helps connect your mind to your breath, especially when thoughts can sometimes break your concentration. Every time your thoughts wander, start back at one. Eventually, you’ll be able to just follow your breath without counting. There are many forms of meditation. The meditation above is a mindful meditation practice. You will find what works for you.
Mindful Breathing – This you can do anywhere and anytime. Exhale completely through your mouth, making sure to breathe out completely. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of eight. Exhale completely through your mouth, making sure to breathe out completely to a count of eight. Concentrate on only your breathing while doing this exercise. Try to let go of other thoughts that may be spinning around in your brain. You can do this several times a day and from wherever you are and can be five or ten minutes or as long as you want.
Mindful Observation – This you can do anywhere as well. This is quite powerful. Look around where you are at this moment. Find something in your environment that you can place your focus on. This could be a flower perhaps. Place your entire focus on this flower for one or two minutes. See every part of this flower. Do nothing else. Look at this flower like you are seeing it for the first time. Connect with the flower.
Mindful Eating– We all eat right? When we sit down to our meal you will want to take a few breaths in and out slowly to become relaxed and focus. First you will give gratitude for the food you are about to eat. As you are sitting there you will notice the smells, sounds, textures, and colors of the foods. Also notice how your mind responds to these senses. Next you will taste the food and imagine that you have never tasted it before. Also check in with your portions. Make sure they are smaller. Really taste the food and enjoy every bite. Eat slowly and don’t skip meals.
Mindful Walking– You can walk anywhere indoor or outdoor. It is up to you. You will begin by taking a few breaths, standing still and being aware of your surroundings. You will then begin by walking a normal pace. Keep your mind on your walking. Pay attention to every step and how your body moves. If you catch your mind wandering bring yourself to your breath and count your breaths to bring you back to focus. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are outside it might be the birds or the trees. Also listen to the sounds and smells. Stay aware of everything around you. As you come to an end. Stand still for a moment before ending the practice.
All of these are the basics. Also you can dive deeper into these practices as well. There are also many other mindfulness practices. This should get you started on your quest for mindfulness. Also remember it takes practice so start out slowly.
Hopefully this can relieve some stress while you live life in this busy world.
Also check out these books Mindfulness Meditation Books By Alfred James if you want to learn more. Pocket Mindfulness Stop. Breathe. Let Go. Click Here!