- Amber Bedell
10 Simple Ways to be More Mindful
The human mind is a powerful tool for creating our most joyful life experience. It can either help or hinder both our emotional state and the creation of the unique life experience each of us wishes to cultivate.
Thoughts alone impact physical health as well and can literally impact our bodies on a cellular level, including turning off or on genes, such as in certain types of cancer. Research on cancer has shown that people who neglect their own needs in service of others are more likely to develop the disease. Heart disease has been linked to anger and rage. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness helps protect against disease, reduce stress, heal trauma, and lead us to living our most authentic and joyful life.
Having the necessary tools to be able to use the power of our mind, for our greater good, the good of the collective and our relationships will greatly improve our overall well-being.
Mindfulness can be defined as intentionally paying attention in the present moment, it is a state of connection with self and others; including grounding in our body.
Many of us, often, spend a great deal of time rehearsing or worrying about the future and entertaining our anxieties about that which we cannot control. Many people also spend time in the past recounting mistakes, “what if’s” and that which is in the past cannot be changed. Healthy future orientation focused on improvement and goals is a good thing! Warm memories that make us smile and produce feel good chemicals are also a good thing. Pay attention to how much energy you are willing to spend on anything that lives of the present moment. All of your power is in the present moment.
The human mind has approximately 60,000 thoughts per day. The problem is, they are usually the same 60,000 thoughts. Not every thought we have about the past, present, or future is based in truth. In fact, a lot of the thoughts we think each day have no truth behind them at all.
Practicing mindfulness helps us to slow down and investigate the credibility behind our thoughts and the reality of them. It teaches us about how to let the hard thoughts come and go, the process of releasing what is not ours to carry around with us. When we are able to be in tune with our body, what is going on in the world around us, and what we are thinking about then we are able to reclaim our life purpose.
Practicing mindfulness looks different for everyone. Being mindful is simply just checking into what is going on right now and being able to stay focused on it. It is about being in-tune within this moment, in time and all that it entails without thinking about anything else.
Here are 10 simple ways to practice mindfulness:
1. Check in with all five senses Do a quick check in with all five of your senses. What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you see around you? What do you taste? What do you feel? Taking a moment to grasp where we are at is a really helpful way to practice mindfulness and reduce both stress and triggers currently present.
You can do a guided meditation or simply just sit in silence and pay attention to your own breath. The goal is not to have complete and utter control of your mind during this time, but to redirect it when you see that it has wandered.
3. Spend time in nature
Spending time outside in nature and with the earth is grounding and a wonderful place to tap into our environment, as well as represent a peaceful and beautiful place to be present.
4. Eat mindfully
Sometimes practicing mindfulness looks like making minor changes to things you already do, just for better results. An example of eating mindfully could look like paying attention to when your body feels full as you eat and knowing when to stop, or it could look like focusing on eating a balanced or nutritious meal when opening the menu somewhere and not just jumping to order what you typically do.
5. Spend less time on your phone
Technology is so useful, but it takes us exactly out of the moment we are in and distracts our minds to focus on whatever is going on behind a busy screen. Being aware of how much time you spend on social media and behind your keyboard makes a huge difference when practicing to be more mindful.
6. Do one thing at a time
Every adult and especially parent has wished for more hands or the ability to duplicate themselves to be in multiple places at once. Sometimes it feels like there are five different things that need to get done but it all must happen in the same second and it distracts us from being in the moment. Paying attention to how many things we are doing at once helps us to be aware of where our attention is going and how it’s being split.
7. Slow down
Slowing down is easier said than done, but when we can just move a little bit slower it allows us to absorb what’s going inside and outside of us. Slowing down does not have to look like making a huge change like quitting a job or sleeping all day, we can slow down just by taking a few minutes to ourselves and paying attention to our breath.
8. Practice gratitude
When we focus on the things we are grateful for not only do we create more of those things, but we are forced to pay attention to the good that we feel for the things in the life we are living right now.
9. Make eye contact
Making eye contact with the people in our lives that we interact with shows the person we are engaged and present with them in whatever conversation we are having.
10. Move your body
When we strengthen our muscle-mind connection we are practicing being mindful. Movement in any capacity gives us the opportunity to feel what is happening with us physically if we are paying attention to it. When we are distracted by watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram we stop paying full attention to how our physical body is feeling when we are moving. Muscle-mind connection is extremely helpful when trying to be more mindful.
Which ones can you try this week? Let us know!