Mindfulness, simply put, is paying attention to the subtle changes in our inner and outer system, and being present - in the 'now'. Practicing mindfulness has helped thousands of people improve their mental health, establish meaningful relationships with others, and connect with themselves on a deeper level. Even if you are a complete beginner, this simple guide will help you start practicing mindfulness right away.
Why practice mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness can have transformational power over your every day life. If you feel overwhelmed by all the challenges that are presented to you, or find it difficult to cope with stress and anxiety, building mindful habits can really shift your perspective.
Try to practise mindfulness even for 10 minutes every day; finding a regular time that works for you will help you stay focused on the task. Little by little you will start to notice yourself becoming calmer and more relaxed. It does take patience and dedication, as it's a self-directed practice, so don't worry if it takes more time for you to actually follow the steps. The most important thing is to give it a go and explore with a sense of openness and curiosity.
Okay, onto the guide now.
5 simple steps to follow
Here are 5 simple steps to practice mindfulness (with free audio guides):
One of the most simple mindfulness practices is focusing in on your breath. This helps create a sense of calm which is great for reducing worry and also helps increase your focus and memory and helps you to make better, more skilful decisions.
2. Body scan
Body scan meditation is a good way to release tension you have accumulated throughout the day. Body scanning involves paying attention to parts of the body and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from head to toes.
By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. The goal is to identify these sensations in the body, so that you are ready to manage them on a second level.
Noticing things you can see, hear, touch, smell, taste at any point during your day can shift your attention from your thoughts and worries to your environment. This exercise will help you find more points of connection with your surroundings, instead of getting caught up in a vicious circle with your negative feelings, and thoughts.
4. Walking meditation
Walking meditation has origins in Buddhism (kinhin) and can be used as part of your mindfulness practice. You can practice walking meditation either indoors or outside in nature; find the location before you start the practice.
Walk 10 steps along the route you’ve chosen, and then pause and breathe for as long as you like. When you’re ready, turn and walk back in the opposite direction to the other end of the lane, where you can pause and breathe again. Then, when you’re ready, turn once more and continue with the walk.
Focus your attention on the movement of the feet, and the way your weight distribution changes every time you take a step. Try walking at a slow pace, so you can notice these functions more easily.
5. Mindful eating
Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating. Mindful eating involves eating slowly, and without distractions (yes, putting that phone away), engaging your senses by noticing colours, smells, sounds, textures, and flavours on your plate, appreciating your food, and the impact it has on your body, and listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full.
That's it, a simple guide to start your mindfulness journey today!
Do you have any other steps in mind?
Leave a comment below.