5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness
Have you ever heard the saying “be mindful”? Personally, my mom has been saying this to my siblings and me for as long as I remember; in public places and spaces, when eating or exercising. About a year ago is when the concept behind this saying really set in. I became extremely stressed and frustrated with just about everything in my life. Finally, I decided to slow down, learn to breathe, and let go of the things I have no control over. Luckily for all of us, practicing mindfulness in our daily lives is something we can all do if we’d like to.
Practicing mindful behaviors has been linked to memory boost, stress reduction, better ability to focus, decreased emotional reaction (which leads to healthier ways to respond), increased development of self-awareness, better quality relationships, and more. Essentially all of these factors contribute to a sense of a more fulfilling quality of life that incorporates empathy, compassion, and less anxiety. Who does want that, right? Here are five ways to begin practicing mindfulness in your life today!
It’s a tale as old as time. Exercise is directly linked to more energy, mood stability, and happiness. So why is it so hard for us to get moving and incorporate some form of daily exercise? I’ve found that when I scheduled workouts that had exercises I dreaded—you can’t pay me to add burpees to my routine—I avoided the workout altogether. Challenge yourself to explore all types of workouts to find what works best for you, and be gentle with yourself in the beginning. Gradually, you will find yourself able to endure more for longer periods.
Words are powerful. Journaling helps relieve the mind of uncomfortable thoughts, provides a moment of reflection on your day, helps set your intention of the day, etc. There are different kinds of journals, such as a gratitude journal, idea journal, or blank journals. Choose what attracts you most and get to jotting down your thoughts. You will feel lighter, and you can take up as much space as you need.
Try unleashing your inner artist by coloring, painting a masterpiece on a blank canvas, or going back to the old elementary chalk days and chalk up the sidewalk. There’s a ton of artistic ways to add some color and imagination into your life— what did you enjoy as an art form during childhood? Maybe that’s a good place to start.
The concept of meditation is simple, yet can have complex results and challenge those who practice this form of mindfulness. Meditation increases calmness, provides clarity, reduces stress and anxiety, provides better sleep, and a host of other benefits. Essentially meditation is bringing attention and awareness to a thought, object, or activity and training the mind to focus, which then creates a sense of mental and emotional clarity and calm. There are many apps like the Calm app that have guided meditation options to assist you on your journey. Ommm.
Last but certainly not least, and my absolute favorite form of mindful practice. In short, yoga focuses on harmonizing the mind and body. It’s an ancient Eastern practice that is popular amongst all kinds of people worldwide in various cultures. Yoga is a good form of practicing mindfulness because it also focuses on breathing. By bringing awareness to your breath, practitioners can slow down and remain in the moment at present. Yoga can also improve your health by reducing lower back pain, increasing flexibility and strength, boost metabolism, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and increase self-esteem. YouTube provides hundreds of free yoga videos, and there are apps like Down Dog that are great as well. “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” -The Bhagavad Gita (read that again.)
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The first step to starting something new is to begin. Happy practicing and Namaste!