Mindfulness is simply defined as being aware and conscious of the present moment. In this world of smartphones which offers us a constant connectivity and an endless hook-up to entertainment, it is rare that we’re absent of any stimulus and are left to mull over our own thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness is about achieving moments of clarity which can be reached by attuning yourself to your body, your mind and the world that surrounds you in the present moment. Engaging on this level of consciousness can help on so many levels; people gain heightened enjoyment, understanding and well-being which consequently reduces feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. The following techniques can be used to access this level of consciousness and can be easily implemented into your daily routine.
Notice The Ordinary and Everyday
Pay attention to something which you normally wouldn’t in the every day whether it be eating, drinking or breathing - it’s these fundamental things which are often overlooked and taken for granted. Making a conscious effort to do so expands your vision and allows you to perceive your world through a different lens, it’s a way of shaking off the auto-pilot mode we often find ourselves operating in and allows us to distance ourselves from the notion that thoughts control us.
This exercise doesn’t have to be constant either, just dedicate a 10-15 minute slot in your daily routine.
Do Something New
No, not taking up bungee-jumping or playing the harpsichord (although those things can be great too!) but something as simple as taking a different route on the way to work can help open up your world a little bit more. This allows you to perceive your world in new and refreshing ways, perhaps sit on a different side of the bus or train, go to a different spot for lunch or just pop the headphones out of your ears whilst you travel. Check out our guide on how to use your work breaks effectively.
Sit, lie or stand in a comfortable space and channel all your focuses on your inhalation and exhalation of breath. If your mind starts to drift then keep bringing your focus back to that respiratory rhythm. This act allows you to stand still for a moment, it is a great way to clear your mind and park problems or worries. Altering our breathing pattern has a profound effect on our emotions; for instance in a stressful situation, take a moment to slowly breathe in and out whilst focussing in on this – this will allow any stress or feelings of anxiety to subside so you can tackle the task with a clear head.
You can carry out this task in the presence of music or pure natural surroundings. Part of the mindfulness process is to approach your surroundings and stimulus without prejudice, as prejudice is formed from a preconceived influence or thought from the past whereas mindfulness aims to keep everything in the present moment. Music is a great medium in which to explore your mindful listening, in doing so try to attune yourself to every part of the track and listen with an open mind, discarding any thoughts on the type of music or artist. This allows you to enjoy the pure sound of the music and subsequently have a wholesome experience.
Accompanying mindfulness with a nutritious and healthy diet allows a more wholesome and happy lifestyle to reveal itself. Explore our Healthy Living category to discover more tips to improve your wellbeing.