The practice of observing the things happening around you, being aware of the feelings related to it, can help our minds stay in the present and not wander around worrying about a hundred different things.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 29, 2020. It has since been updated.
Mindfulness is the state of mind when it's completely aware of everything that is happening around it, the things that you're doing, and the place where you are at all times. According to Mindful.org, the human mind is extremely active and has the ability to jump from one thought to another in seconds. This, in turn, causes the person to overthink numerous matters at the same time and become anxious.
It is not something that a human being has to learn. We are born with the art of mindfulness, it just needs to be developed and practiced. There are several benefits of mindfulness. It helps in reducing stress, gaining important insights into various things, enhancing performances at different levels. In a study done by Harvard University Medical School professor Sara Lazar and a set of researchers, it was found that an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program helped the participants improve their cognitive functions, resulting in better learning abilities and memory.
It also helps us in observing how our mind works which in turn helps us in understanding the ways it can be made better. The functioning of our brain can help in finding and pointing out the possible reasons for depression and finding a solution, according to the Power of Positivity. Mindfulness can rewire the brain and help in making new and improved connections. In another study done by a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Zindel Segais, it was found that mindfulness helped the most who'd suffered severe childhood abuse along with their medications.
Professor J. David Creswell of Carnegie Mellon University found the best way to relax our minds, open the blocks made by stress and problems, and unleash the curiosity, creativity, warmth, and kindness was the regular practice of mindfulness. It increases a person's problem-solving skills.
So, here are 10 easy ways to practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life:
Setting the tone in the morning for the entire day is very important. Visualize your ideal day in your mind before you get out of the bed. Set your intention like, "May today's day be productive," "May I feel calm and in control of myself," "May I be kind to the people I love," "May I feel healthy, energetic and happy." A positive thought at the beginning of the day can change your body's energy and give you a lighter and brighter start.
Morning showers are usually the fastest ones no matter what. It's also the time when you have to prepare for the day ahead. But being aware of the sensations while taking a shower can help you be in the present and relax your mind. Next time you take a bath, feel the hot water wash away the previous day's dirt, soaking the warmth. Feel the soft lathering and light fragrance of the soap and shampoo. Observe the sound and the sensations.
Focus on the meal that you're having or the drink that you're holding, every time you take a sip or a bite. It's very common to not feel nourished or entirely satisfied with the meal you have because you tend to do twenty different things at the same time. Watching television or working while eating can distract you from enjoying the smell and taste of the food. So, observe all these things with your next meal.
Often times we keep walking and really don't know where the destination is or why we started walking in the place. Walking can be a great way to relax your mind especially in an open space, like a park. The next time you take your dog for a walk and enjoy your pooches energy, take notice of the lifting and falling of your foot on the ground. Observe your body's movements. Stop your mind from wondering about unnecessary things when the task at hand is just simply walking.
Feel the natural rhythmic movement of your chest as you breathe. The way it moves up as the lungs fill up with oxygen and the way it goes down as we breathe out. Breathing might seem like a trivial activity but it is also the reason that we're alive. Paying a little attention can help us relax and be thankful for being alive.
Be in the moment to recharge your senses - touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight. Feel the fabric of your clothes brush against your skin along with the light breeze on your face. Smell the fragrant fresh coffee that you brew before taking the first sip and taste the exotic blend of sweet, sour, and salty. Fill your eyes with the beauty of your garden, your kids, and your spouse's happy faces. Let your ears ring with your children's and your grandchildren's laughter.
It's exactly like pausing a movie while watching it. Everything stops for a second and then it's back. In the same way, pause for a second before doing an action. Pause and feel the paper before you turn the page. Pause for a second and feel the lemongrass before you chop it for your dish. The pausing helps in stabilizing the mind, bringing it back to the present, and letting the mind know that you're going to start a new task. This way the mid is attentive and more careful.
We all have things that we love doing, be it singing, dancing, listening, talking; anything, basically. The next time you think of doing any of these, channel your inner worries into these tasks and get lost in what you love. If you like journaling, write down what you feel every day and it could act as a tracker for you to come back to and understand your mood and it's workings.
Being aware of our feelings, while we do our daily tasks can help us take a small step towards mindfulness and a calmer, happier, and healthier mind.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein