Keep reading to find out how you can practice mindfulness outside of meditation.
Mindfulness is an increasingly popular technique that originally came from a Buddhist meditative practice. For many people, mindfulness remains a predominantly meditative act that allows you to quiet the mind, focus on the present moment and experience it with clarity and curiosity.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation have been widely documented, with studies proving its ability to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
If you are keen to try mindfulness, but don't get on with meditation per say, don't worry, you don't have to sit with your eyes shut to benefit from mindfulness. Essentially; mindfulness is just a way of focusing on the present moment and this is something that can be done almost anywhere. Try the following ideas to help bring mindfulness into the everyday:
Be mindful when you eat
Eating is an activity that falls prey to mindlessness - that is when we eat something without even thinking about it (usually when we're working or watching TV). To eat mindfully you will need to utilise all of your senses - so switch off the TV and sit at the dinner table.
Firstly take a few seconds to really look at what you're about to eat. Notice its colour, it's texture and patterns. Think about where it has come from and the journey it made to get to your plate. Then take in every aroma and focus on the scent. When you put the food in your mouth, stop and notice what this feels like before you start chewing. As you chew and swallow, ensure you are really tasting the flavours. Do this with every mouthful and every time your mind wonders, simply bring it back to the task at hand.
Be mindful during daily activities
The same concept we just applied to eating a meal can be used during any daily activity. For example, if you are mindful when you take a shower, ensure you spend time thinking about how the water feels and how your shower gel smells. If you are mindful when you're cooking, really give some thought to each process involved in the creation of your meal.
Most of our stress lies in the future or in the past, by embracing mindfulness you can reduce your stress response and feel calmer overall.
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