You’ve likely heard about the benefits of mindfulness before. But hearing about something and putting into practice are two entirely different experiences.
And right now, we all need to practice healthy states of mind & being more than ever.
And right now, with so many of us now spending more time at home, it’s the perfect time to intentionally practice mindfulness in your every day life.
In today’s blog, I’m happy to share 4 easy and effective ways to experience the benefits of mindfulness in your daily life.
But first, I’ll share a quick personal story to illustrate how this all comes together.
This morning I had some extra time. All of my counseling sessions (now online) were later in the evening.
So I went to my front garden area to trim back the tall dead grasses and water the tulips.
I smiled feeling the soft warm spring air and the sun on my face, and seeing the young neighborhood kids running out to play. I saw small green shoots of grass emerge as a cleared away the dead stalks and felt a surge of energy and optimism realizing that spring is here and new life would soon be everywhere.
Then, I had a sudden realization: as we clear away the old, we make way for the new in our lives. And I realized that this would be the perfect blog to write this evening.
So as you can see, being completely present in that moment in my front garden this morning brought me enjoyment, peace, and the clear inspiration that led to writing this blog for you now.
But before going too much further, what exactly does “mindfulness” mean?
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of the modern “mindfulness movement” in the west, defines mindfulness this way:
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally…And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
Because the human mind tends to be overactive, overly focused on problems and prone to wander into worries about the past or the future, you can probably see why mindfulness is such a powerful practice for mental, emotional & spiritual health.
Here are just a few of the benefits of mindfulness practice:
Obviously, these are things we all need right now as we find ourselves in the midst of a global health crisis.
So, now is the perfect time to practice mindfulness in your daily life.
Here are four simple and effective ways to practice mindfulness right now:
In this moment, or in any moment, simply allow yourself to be still. Just breathe, notice your breath, notice your surroundings, feel your body, and just BE present. As you do this, notice your internal state and what shifts. Do you notice a feeling of calm? Clarity? Peace? Simply be still and take in your experience as a neutral observer.
One by one, simply give your full attention to each of your five senses. Notice as many details as you can about what you are seeing, what you’re hearing, touching, smelling, or tasting. Really take in and experience your senses in this moment. Again, notice any internal shifts in your state of being as you do this.
This is about giving your complete focus to only one activity. You can incorporate the connection to your senses (as in #2), but allow yourself to become completely focused on just this one action. Good examples of activities to give your singular focus are cooking, eating, or showering. But you can give your full attention to anything you may be doing. This brings a quality of attention and care to what you’re doing, and eliminates any mental activity that would otherwise be causing stress or anxiety.
Use your new mindful awareness from the skills above to simply take in and enjoy the “little things” – the flicker of light through the blinds, a chirping bird, the taste of your meal, a beautiful plant, or even just silence. There is beauty everywhere at all times, available to appreciate and enjoy. When you can bring this quality of mindful awareness to your daily moments, your quality of life and your internal state of being will completely transform for the better.
There are so many great resources to deepen and expand your mindful practices.
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a wonderful book that guides you into mindful practice in every moment of your life.
If you enjoyed this blog, you will also like my blog Quality vs. Quantity: How Slowing Down Can Transform Your Life. I give additional ways you can enhance your quality of life and peace of mind through mindful awareness ever day.
My eBook, The Stress Solution also contains countless powerful tools rooted in the benefits of mindfulness practice that are proven to eliminate stress, calm your mind and help you feel joyful and empowered every day.
What’s one way you’ll practice mindfulness today? How might this improve your experience of everyday life?
Let me know in the comments below!
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