How to Practice Mindfulness Everyday
By: Alia Savage
Mindfulness is a practice that encourages people to live in the moment and be present. It’s been proven by scientists to help alleviate several physical and mental ailments. Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of everyday life leaves little time for mindfulness. We’re so busy going over to-do lists and making future plans, we’re rarely ever really present. But it doesn’t have to stay this way. There are many things you can do to practice mindfulness every day. Here are a few of my favorites.
Breathing is an automatic process that usually occurs in our background, but focused breathing brings the action to the forefront of our minds, and makes us concentrate on what we’re doing.
Take a few minutes, preferably in the morning, to take slow, deep breaths. While you do this, take notice of how good it feels to fill your air with lungs, and how your stomach muscles contract. It’ll be normal for your mind to wander during this time. That’s okay, too. Allow yourself to go wherever your mind takes you—without guilt.
You must take stock of the thoughts running through your head, whether negative or positive. Being cognizant of the natural paths your thoughts take will help you to evaluate the source of your moods. The things we fixate on regularly came from somewhere. And, if they're overtly negative, you should be aware of what's causing them.
DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF
All of your thoughts are not your own. Intrusive thoughts, for example, are involuntary, unpleasant thoughts that crop up at inopportune times. The thoughts that do belong to you might also bring up unpleasant feelings and memories. It’s important to acknowledge these thoughts, then let them pass without judgment.
REDIRECT YOUR THOUGHTS
When we started, the focus was breathing. Let’s get back to that. Even though a wandering mind is a sign of a healthy brain, the point of this practice is to focus on the now. How do you feel right now? Are you relaxed or tense? Warm or cold? Calm or anxious? Allow yourself to feel and appreciate each, human sensation. \
It takes time to get the hang of being mindful. As such, you won’t reap the full benefits right away. But that’s okay! If you repeat the practice every day, you’ll find it easier to keep your thoughts focused on the now —even if they drift off from time to time.
Have you ever tried mindful thinking? If not, is it something you’re interested in? Let us know by leaving a comment below.