A lot of people are transforming their lives with the incorporation of a regular mindfulness practice or meditation practice. In modern times, there is more and more of a focus on at home stress relief and self care ideas; you only need to look on a social media platform like Pinterest to see a wealth of mental health quotes, self care ideas and mindfulness tips. But many of us still struggle to understand how to bring mindfulness into our life.
In this article, we are going to be looking at how you can form healthy mindfulness habits and introducing you to 10 easy steps to a more mindful life.
What Is Mindfulness?
We hear about mindfulness all the time; social media is full of information on the subject but it is often misunderstood. A lot of people believe that these practices involve a trip to a Buddhist retreat or some other intense habits.
However, mindfulness is something that you can incorporate into your day to day life relatively easily. It does take a certain level of commitment but it certainly isn’t unavailable. Everyone has the ability to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the simple act of being in the present moment, but not just physically, in the mind as well. One of the things that a lot of people get confused about is how to practice mindfulness, but again, this can be very simple.
Being in the present moment involves placing your awareness on what is happening right now. This might be a sensation in the body, passing thoughts, emotions or your current situation. But the key is not to interact with these things but rather observe them. You can achieve this during a mindfulness meditation session, walking through nature or when doing your favorite hobby; the best thing about mindfulness is that it doesn’t matter how you do it, but rather the results you cultivate.
What Are The Benefits Of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has a wealth of benefits. Generally speaking, there are three main areas that it will work in; physical health, mental health and emotional health.
ADHD is a condition which makes it difficult to remain focused on a particular task for an extended period of time. According to research, patients with ADHD who practiced mindfulness meditation, were much better to focus on certain tasks for longer. Whether this is reading, listening to a friend or at work or school, mindfulness will support an improvement in your concentration.
Other mental benefits include alleviation from such conditions like depression and anxiety owing to the increased happiness that mindfulness can bring and the physical impact it has on the brain.
Emotionally, mindfulness is known to improve many aspects including your self confidence, how you interact with other people and how well you are able to regulate your emotions, again improving your happiness.
It will also allow you to take steps towards understanding yourself better as you take a step back and observe things rather than trying to change them.
One of the other great benefits of mindfulness is that it can help you to be less involved in your personal issues and see them as almost an outsider. As a result of this, many find that they are able to make choices with much greater clarity and certainty without being affected by involved emotions.
Physically speaking, following our tips for mindfulness will bring about many results. The practice is known to lower blood pressure, improve heart health and improve the quality of your sleep.
Ten Tips For A Mindfulness Practice
There are people all over the world who engage in practices like the confidence challenge or signing up to a costly mobile app. While things like a confidence challenge can be useful for anxiety and other mental health problems, we should be mindful to start with much simpler approaches like some of those we see in mindfulness practice.
There are people who are so deeply impacted by their mindfulness experience that they dedicate their life to mindfulness meditation and practice. Take Andy Puddicombe, for example who gave up his way of living to become a Buddhist monk. You may recognize him as being the founder of the hugely successful Headspace app which aims to bring mindfulness to the masses through at home stress relief.
However, you don’t need to run off to Asia and start a course in Buddhism to get started with mindfulness. Of course, if you wanted to, you could but these 10 easy steps to mindfulness allow you to practice the mindfulness experience every day from the comfort of your own home. Let’s take a look at our top tips.
Is there anything that you do more than breathing? One of the easiest ways to start your new mindful life is to pay attention to your breathing. Most of the time, we do not even notice that we are breathing but as you bring you awareness to each breath, you immediately bring yourself out of the world and into the present moment.
This is also an excellent technique for connecting the body and mind which is an important part of self care.
You can do this by focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Some like to use a visualisation of the air flowing in as a healing light and visualise the tension flowing out on the exhale.
This doesn’t need to be done as one long meditation but can be done at various points throughout the day. Just a minute or two can be enough.
Bring Aware To Your Body Sensations
A common misconception is that the body and mind are two different things, but they are not; we are not. We are one entity and one of the important steps to mindfulness is to realize this by noticing any type of sensation that arises in the body.
This could be a tingling in the feet, tension in the shoulders after a long day at work or when you notice a pain in the stomach. Not only does this unite the body and mind but it also perfectly brings you into the present and allows the mind to quiet.
Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool but some people are terrified of practices like this. Why? Because fitting regular meditation practices in your life can feel overwhelming.
Many believe that practices like this require you to search your soul and clear your mind completely but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Meditation will allow you to sit with your thoughts and observe them which is one of the main ideas of mindfulness.
Also, while this is one of our top tips, understanding how to meditate can be a challenge. Elvin Dantes created the How To Meditate Poster which has been a huge help to those looking to start a meditation practice and helps to reduce some of the anxiety surrounding this.
The How To Meditate Poster by Elvin Dantes can be found here but in short, it covers the following tips;
Meditate in a quiet place.
Make sure you are comfortable
Focus on the breath
Notice your thoughts
Start with just five minutes at a time
Create a daily meditation practice
The poster also discusses how we must all focus on being patient with developing our meditation practices and not rushing the process, taking care not to push ourselves too quickly. It certainly gives you very useful tips.
If you are going in search of mindful activities that you can do in any place or at any time, then your search can end at mealtimes. We all eat, every day and this can make for an interesting and effective mindfulness meditation practice.
When we eat, we often rush the process. As adults, we have a lot of responsbilities and we try to get through the menial things like feeding our bodies quickly. However, when you focus your mind on your thoughts and what you are doing, some amazing things will happen.
As you eat, do not let anything else distract you but rather focus on the feeling of each bite, the texture and flavor of the food. This is one of the greatest ways to become present as it involves many of the senses. Try to eat slowly and deliberately, paying attention to every aspect of the experience. This can also go a long way in improving your sense of gratitude; another important part of self care.
You may have heard of the concept of a walking meditation and this is something that is totally different to how we often envisage meditation; with closed eyes and remaining very still.
We walk all the time so why not incorporate this into our mindfulness? If you find it hard to do a typical meditation practice, you can combine this with walking too.
As you take each step, become aware of everything you feel. The ground beneath the feet, any thoughts that come into your mind, the speed of your walk, the air around you and anything else you can pick up on.
This is one of the best mindfulness tips since it can be done anywhere, anytime. Whether you plan to go on a long walk through the countryside or are simply walking from your desk to the bathroom, the place doesn’t matter.
Being in the present moment like this can hugely reduce anxiety and help to ground you.
Focus And Concentration
As human, we find it so difficult to keep our minds on anything for longer than a few minutes. In many cases, this can bring on feelings of anxiety or unease. However, we must learn to improve our focus and therefore reduce anxiety, stress and other negative emotions.
It can feel difficult but one of the first steps to mindfulness is to take things slowly. Start by choosing a simple task, like eating a meal. Only eat the meal. Do not watch TV, do not look at an electrical device or have a conversation. Put everything you are into eating that meal. You will begin to pick up on the present feelings and experience and will therefore have taken the first step to improving your focus.
The more you do this, the easier it will become and soon you will be able to concentrate for longer on more complex tasks; think about what that will help you to achieve.
Just like you need to eat, your body also needs rest and this means getting a decent sleep each night. Adults are typically so busy that they can compromise their sleeping patterns to get work done but this is detrimental to your mindfulness.
If you are tired, you will notice how you cannot focus on one task and when you try, that task rarely gets completed correctly because your mind simply isn’t clear enough.
Incorporating proper rest into your practice is one of the best ways to create a mindful cycle. Mindfulness will help you to sleep and sleep will help you to practice mindfulness.
You Are Not Your Emotions Or Thoughts
It can be all too easy to become so connected with your thoughts and emotions that you believe that you are them. But while they may have an effect on you and can sometimes cause you a lot of anxiety and upset.
The human mind is constantly whirring and regardless of how hard you try, you will never get it to be entirely quiet. But you can accept that all of your emotions, anxiety, feelings and thoughts are not who you are but merely a part of you.
They will ebb and fade and change over time. Allow them to be present, sit with them and be a observer.
Out of all the tips we could give, patience is one of the most important tips to think about. Mindfulness as part of a wider self care program is not something that you can achieve overnight. Yet, as humans, we are hugely impatient. It can be difficult to continue following mindfulness tips when you don’t see an instant improvement, however, rest assured that you will notice changes in time.
If you allow impatience to take over, this can serve as a hindrance and is one of the many ways that can halt us from progressing. There is no need to try to force patience, allowing it to happen naturally is one of the best ways to do this.
You might do this by keeping a journal, which is something that a lot of adults are now doing. This allows you to track your progress and see how you have developed, improving your patience.
Captivating Crazy is a mindfulness website that offers a lot of tips on bullet journalling and according to Captivating Crazy, doing this will spur you on with enthusiasm.
In the safety of your own home, you may feel as though you are one entity on one earth, existing alone. But you are part of a much wider and diverse system of everything that exists. The oxygen from trees, the weather system, other people animals and much more. Developing our mindfulness practices requires us to recognize our connection to all of these things.
As you do this, you will begin to appreciate life much more as you realize the ideas that there is, of course, a connection between all things and without them, you might not exist.
Mindfulness is being talked about more and more; you only have to search the term on Google and you will see mental health quotes, blog posts, social media posts and much more surrounding the subject and how mindfulness can have a positive impact on your life.
It can alleviate stress and anxiety, improve your self confidence and aid your physical health but trying to incorporate it into your life can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In your search for a mindful life, you may have tried many at-home things. Of course, for some, it is easy but for others it can be a challenge. These mindfulness tips will help you to draw your attention to the present easily and effectively.