With so many unknowns about the future, it's easy to get stuck in negative feedback loops that eventually cause stress in the body. But, stress is the last thing we need to strengthen our immune systems and maintain a healthy mental state. At this point, mindfulness comes in with many proven benefits - from reducing anxiety and depression to improving sleep - for cultivating a healthier and happier life.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to remain in the present moment and concentrate your thoughts on what is going on right now. With mindfulness, you can ground yourself in the present moment in order to experience the wonders of life. When we practice gratitude, we must direct our attention to what is good in our lives right now. It gently brings the good stuff to the forefront of our minds, allowing us to more easily return to the present moment rather than worrying about the future or rehashing the past.
Benefits of including mindfulness in our daily routines
The practice of mindfulness in everyday life can have numerous benefits for your emotional and physical health, as well as our relationships. Mindfulness can also assist us in achieving our objectives, such as losing weight or beginning a new project. Overall, cultivating mindfulness is an important practice to develop in order to live happy and meaningful lives.
Staying mindful everyday
Although nothing beats a good mindfulness meditation, fitting in a 20-30 minute meditation in our hectic lives can be difficult. Instead, we can develop micro-practices to help us maintain our focus throughout the day. Here are 5 simple ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily life to boost your happiness, well-being and help you maintain an inner sense of calm.
1. Mindful wakeup: begin your day with a goal
The underlying motivation for everything we think, say, or do is referred to as our intention. Given that the majority of our decisions and behaviors are controlled by the unconscious brain, setting an intention can alter your day, increasing the likelihood that your words, actions, and responses will be more mindful and compassionate.
In the morning, you can close your eyes and become aware of the sensations in your seated body. Then focus on your breathing and take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. After that, simply follow your breath in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe. Then ask yourself, "What is my intention for today?" Then, set your intention for the day, for example "Today, I will be kind to myself and patient with others." Finally, check in with yourself throughout the day.
2. Mindful workout: engage your mind and muscles
What do such exercises have in common, such as riding a bike or lifting weights? For starters, each can serve as a mindfulness practice. The steps below will assist you in synchronizing your body, mind, and nervous system. You will strengthen your ability to devote all of your energy to the task at hand as you progress.
First and foremost, you have to define your goal. For example, as you ride your bike, you might say, "I'm going to take a deep breath and notice the sensation of the breeze, the sun, and the passing scenery." Then, during warm - up, try moving rhythmically to align and stabilize your brain activity, heart rate and nervous system. After that, set goals for yourself, for example try faster speeds or heavier weights depending on what you're doing. Last step is 5 minutes of relaxation. Slow down gradually until you reach a complete stop. Take note of how your body feels. Simply observe your surroundings and practice naming your feelings and physical sensations.
3. Drive calmly with mindful driving
Nothing triggers the "fight or flight" response like heavy traffic and impatient drivers. But this does not have to be the case. In fact, a traffic jam can be an excellent opportunity to reconnect with others and regain some perspective, by using the following steps:
Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you require. It could be that you need to feel safe, at ease, or simply relieved at that time. Understanding what you require will help you find balance. Scan your body for any tension and soften it or adjust it as needed. Last but not least ake another deep breath. By following these simple tips, you can improve your mood in 15 seconds or less.
4. Eat mindfully
Eating is one of the most pleasurable experiences we have as humans, and doing so mindfully can enrich it significantly, satisfying not only the need for nutrition, but also more subtle senses and needs. We can satisfy all of our hunger if we pay our full attention to our bodies and what we truly desire. It is also recommended that one breathes before eating. We can slow down and make a more peaceful transition to our meals by pausing.
5. Practice active listening
When others speak, we are usually preoccupied with determining how we will respond. We tune out about halfway through, before the person has finished speaking. The next time you have a conversation, try active listening, in which you focus your entire attention on the other person. Listen with your ears, heart, and intuition. Try mindful listening to see if it improves the quality of your conversations.
In a nutshell
Mindfulness is not something that comes naturally to us - our mind wanders - especially with so many distractions that drive our focus away. Most of us are now addicted to technology and have lost our ability to concentrate for long periods of time. As we check our news feeds, emails, or texts, we are constantly bombarded with information. We go through the day without even checking in with ourselves, let alone practicing mindfulness, which leaves us feeling disconnected and unhappy. Nevertheless, each day brings plenty of opportunities for mindfulness. There are many moments to practice mindfulness; from doing exercises to waiting in traffic. So, what are you waiting for? Start doing your mindfulness exercises today!