By: Grace Gufler
Mindfulness is a term many of us are familiar with but do you know what it actually means? The concept of mindfulness is simpler than many people think. Mindfulness is the act of being mindful, or aware, of the present. This includes the body, the mind, emotions, and our surrounding environment. The most common image of mindfulness is meditation and because of this, many people feel discouraged or intimidated by the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is much more than meditating! If you have difficulty sitting still, sitting in silence, or dislike breathing exercises; you can still practice mindfulness. This blog post will discuss some mindfulness exercises you can practice that goes beyond meditation.
- What do I see?
This exercise will incorporate your sense of vision. Sit by a window, in a park, or even a coffee shop and notice the environment around you. Try to pay attention to the smallest of details and describe them to yourself. If you find yourself being distracted, acknowledge the intrusive thought, imagine it passing by you and return to the present by focusing your mind back on the environment around you.
- 5 Senses Grounding Technique
This is one of my favorite mindfulness exercises and it can be helpful to manage feelings of anxiety or stress. For this exercise, you are going to engage your five senses and narrate observations about the environment around you. This is very similar to the above exercise but can take more time. All the sense can be used as a separate mindfulness exercise or can be combined for a more substantial experience. If you are new to practicing mindfulness, I recommend starting with just one of the senses and then slowly adding them as your ability to be present improves. This exercise can be done almost anywhere and provides opportunities to be creative in the ways you practice it. Here is how you do the 5 senses mindfulness exercise: what do you see about the environment around? What noises do you hear? What are the smells around you? What are you touching and how does it feel? Can you taste anything? It is important to be really detailed and approach the exercise as a nonjudgmental observer.
- 2 Minutes in Silence:
Sitting in silence is hard for a lot of people. In a culture of technology, it is easy to go an entire day without experiencing a break from stimuli. This can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, a decrease in energy, and a loss of productivity. It is important to give your mind a break from the chaos of daily life and have an opportunity to slow down, process your thoughts, and rest. Sit in silence for at least two minutes with no distractions and let your mind wander. As time goes on, this exercise will get easier and you can add more time.
- How is my Body Feeling?
This exercise is a check-in with your body and will help improve self-awareness and decrease stress. Set a peaceful environment for yourself. You can listen to music or be in silence, dim the lights, have a candle, etc. Everyone has a different idea of calm, so do whatever works best for you! This exercise can be done sitting, laying down, or standing. Slowly check in with all the parts of your body starting with your toes and working your way up. As you reach a part of the body, move and flex those muscles. Take note of how each part of your body is feeling. Do you feel sore? Tired? Strong? As you move up the body, express gratitude for your body and all that it does for you. This will help boost self-esteem and improve positive self-talk.
I hope this blog post helps you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Mindfulness has many benefits including managing stress, improving confidence, decreasing anxiety, improving focus and energy, and will help you be centered and grounded in the present.