(Note: special thanks to my friend Ilana for being an expert source for this topic)
Have you ever looked around and realized that nothing is permanent? As I near graduation from undergraduate school, I feel like life is moving too quickly. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time not fully appreciating my current situation; the people around me, the places I’ve visited and the things I’ve accomplished.
While change is inevitable, I’ve committed myself to being more mindful. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about mindfulness (i.e. Pinterest glitter jars), but what does it really mean?
Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Benefits of being mindful
Practicing mindfulness daily will result in a higher self and worldly awareness along with reduced stress, anxiety, rumination and emotional reactivity. It’s been known to boost working memory, cognitive flexibility, focus and self-insight.
Anyone can practice being more mindful, even in the most mundane daily activities. Things like putting makeup on, getting dressed, eating breakfast or even driving, can be done mindfully by taking one conscious breath and focusing on the present moment.
Here are three mindfulness practices to add to your day:
- Mindful walking
You can do this one anywhere! Walk at a natural pace, noticing what it feels like to lift your foot and set it back down on the ground. Start to breathe in for a certain amount of steps and breathe out for at least one step longer than your inhale. As you walk and breathe, notice what’s going on around you- sounds, sights and smells. Keep focusing on your breath until you reach your destination, then pause and notice how you feel both physically and mentally before starting your next task.
- Grounding the senses
For this exercise, sit or stand comfortably in your space and begin to relax. As you inhale and exhale, start to account for these things in your surroundings:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can touch
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
- Pause between action
Before you pick up your phone, get out your keys or throw your shoes in the closet, take a brief pause and notice what you’re doing. If you’re transitioning from one activity to another notice how quickly you’re moving and how your body feels. Take a conscious breath and move with intention to your next task, with full focus on each movement you make.
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn
In this day and age, mindfulness as a practice is very commonly overlooked, mostly because the majority of the time our minds are distracted by life. However, it is possible for anyone to add more mindfulness to their daily lives.
Photos courtesy of: Enable Therapy Services,