How to Start Practising Mindfulness
“Mindfulness starts to get really interesting when we can start to integrate it into everyday life. Remember, mindfulness means to be present, in the moment. And if you can do it sitting on a chair, then why not while out shopping, drinking a cup of tea, eating your food, holding the baby, working at the computer or having a chat with a friend? All of these are opportunities to apply mindfulness, to be aware.” – Headspace.
In a world that is becoming increasingly busy, it can be difficult to keep our heads above the water and not go with the ebb and flow of the constant movement around us – and within us. As we become increasingly busy, staying mindful becomes even more important for both our physical and mental wellbeing.
But what exactly does it mean to become more mindful, and how do we start practising mindfulness when time is seemingly limited? Although mindfulness is most commonly cultivated through meditation, this journey of becoming more present can also start with small steps in our daily routine.
Here are just some simple ways of how you can start to incorporate pockets of mindfulness in your day.
1. Head outside for a moment
Take 15 minutes out of your day and head outside to just sit and focus on your breath. Go for a walk, have your lunch on the grass – just remember to leave your phone behind. Being outside takes you away from your desk and gives your mind and body the downtime it needs to recharge.
2. Mindful eating
You can even turn mealtimes into a mindfulness practice! Pay attention to the taste, texture and smell. Take small bites and chew slowly. This helps you to not only enjoy and savour each mouthful, but also gives your body time to realise that it’s satisfied. Choosing what you eat and how you are nourishing your body also contributes to eating more mindfully.
3. Moving meditation
Yoga Journal mentions four focal points – the spine, a sense of grounding, transitions between poses and breath. Mindfulness is really a practice of becoming more aware, letting the feeling of each movement in our body wash over us. Instead of reacting, try to focus on each sensation as you go about your day, paying attention to the physical sensations. For example, while working on the computer, you might be able to notice the shape of the natural curve in your spine, or how your hands are resting against the table. Start by taking a few moments to just feel, and soon enough, being mindful will become second nature.
4. Take time to stretch
According to Mindful.org, “by focusing on the breath while doing some simple movements you can synchronise your mind and body with breath and rhythm”. After just a few minutes of simple stretching, you begin to pause and relax. Stretch out each part of your body, holding for 10 to 15 seconds. After your stretch, close your eyes for a moment and notice your heartbeat and the sensations that your body is feeling.
Remember, mindfulness is a journey. When you first start out, it is normal for your mind to wander. Just catch it as it does and gently return awareness to the present. You’ll notice that with consistent practice, the quietening and consciousness of the mind increases.