Mindfulness is a hot word. Coaches, teachers, speakers, professors, or social media influencers – you name it, and at least one of those wellness industry individuals has likely touched upon mindfulness in the past.
But what is mindfulness? And where can mindfulness be found outside the regular meditation or yoga space? Is it possible to apply and practice mindfulness daily while living a modern, busy lifestyle of the 21st century?
In this blog post, we're getting to the core of mindfulness. Read below to find out how to practice mindfulness and how you can start developing mindfulness skills today.
First, what is mindfulness?
To put it simply, mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment on purpose, without judgment. In other words, it means being aware of what you're doing while you're doing it and not letting your mind wander off into thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
Easier said than done, practicing mindfulness in daily life is a challenge, especially for those who are new to it. Although setting yourself short-term, rushed goals are not advisable when embarking on a mindfulness journey. Eventually, you will want to incorporate mindfulness in all aspects of your life, developing a mindfulness habit.
This includes mindful movement, eating, driving, reading, listening to music, regular mindfulness practice, or even washing dishes.
What is the difference between mindfulness and self-awareness?
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being aware of something. It's a mental state that you can train yourself to be in through different mindfulness practices.
Self-awareness, on the other hand, is about clearly perceiving your personality, including your strengths and weaknesses, emotions, beliefs, motivations, and ways of interacting with other people and the outside world in general.
Although the two have to differentiate solid factors, both mindfulness practice and self-awareness training include working with negative emotions, deep breathing, mindful movement, and meditation practices.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been shown to provide a plethora of benefits, some of which are:
- Improved physical and mental health
- Increased focus and concentration
- Decreased stress and anxiety levels
- Enhanced emotional stability and well-being
- Calm nervous system
- Reduced negative thinking and negative emotions
- Prevention of age-related cognitive disorders
- Increased sense of the present moment
- Developed creative thinking
- Reduced emotional exhaustion
- Improved physical pain and chronic pain
- Fewer anxiety symptoms
Mindfulness practice has also shown positive results in relationship building, strengthening, and overall communication patterns. Whether in personal or professional life, those who practice mindfulness become betters listeners, have fewer arguments, and build relationships with emotional regulation.
How does meditation practice relate to mindfulness?
Mindfulness and meditation practice go hand-in-hand. Meditation is a tool that can be used to practice mindfulness, and mindfulness is the goal of many meditation practices. By becoming more mindful during meditation, we can carry that mindfulness into our everyday lives and learn to live more in the present moment.
While it is possible to practice mindfulness without meditation, it is often through different mindfulness meditation practices that people learn how to become more mindful in daily life.
So if you want to add more mindfulness into your life, start by adding a meditation practice to your routine.
Easy ways to practice mindfulness meditation
One way to practice mindfulness is to meditate. Meditation is a practice where you focus on one thing, such as your breath or a mantra. The truth is that meditation is the most effective way of mindfulness-based stress reduction. Practiced regularly, meditation practice changes one's life for the better.
Meditation aims to bring your attention back to the present moment when your mind wanders. You can practice mindfulness meditation anywhere, at any time. Various meditation techniques can be used for mindfulness practice, from walking meditation to guided meditation.
Here is a simple mindful meditation practice that can be done under five minutes.
Find a quiet place free of distractions. Starting at home is perfect as this is when you usually feel comfortable and relaxed.
Bring attention to your breathing. Sit with your spine straight and close your eyes. Inhale and exhale deeply through the nose. Pay attention to how the breath feels going in and out of the body as you breathe. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment when your mind wanders, which it will. Simply notice where it went off to and then bring it back to the states of awareness. Continue to breathe deeply.
Scan your body. Become aware of your bodily sensations and any areas of attention. Release any tension you may be holding.
Allow thoughts to come and pass while continuing to focus on your breathing.
Start with five minutes and work your way up to more extended periods. If you find yourself struggling to focus or keep your attention on your breath, there are a few things you can do:
- Set a timer, so you're not constantly checking the clock.
- Focus on the exhale and count inhales and exhales.
- Find a focus point if you prefer to keep your eyes open.
How to practice mindfulness outside meditation
Who says mindfulness has to be boring? If you're looking for fun, engaging, mindful exercises to try without practicing mindfulness meditation, here are a few to get you started.
For starters, try mindful listening. Next time you're conversing, tune in to what the other person is saying. Listen with your whole body, and don't let your mind wander. Keeping your attention focused can be challenging, but it's a great way to practice mindfulness.
Another fun exercise is mindful walking. Instead of letting your mind wander as you walk, pay attention to the sensations of your feet hitting the ground and the feel of the air on your skin. You may also want to try mindful observing, where you take a few moments to look at your surroundings and notice all the little details.
These are just a few of the many mindful exercises you can try. If you're looking for guided support, check out some mindfulness apps such as Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, and more.
What are other ways of practicing mindfulness?
Mindfulness practice doesn't stop just there. The most beautiful and exciting part of introducing mindfulness into the daily routine is that it can touch upon almost all areas of everyday life.
Here are some additional mindfulness training methods with a less meditative approach.
Breathwork is a mindfulness technique about taking just a few minutes to bring attention to the breath to help calm and center the mind. There are many different ways to do breathing exercises, such as box breathing, pranayama, holotropic breathwork, and more.
Most people know that yoga is a great way to exercise the body but also an excellent mindfulness practice. The mindfulness component of yoga comes from focusing on the breath and the present moment while moving through each pose. Some yoga poses, such as forward bend or child's pose, are explicitly targeted at opening up the potential of mindfulness skills.
Centering exercises are designed to help you find inner calm and focus. There are many different types of centering exercises, but they all share the common goal of helping you connect with your inner self.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Less of an exercise, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a type of therapy that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness practices. MBCT is effective in treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
One of the most powerful mindfulness exercises that simultaneously improves the sense of self-awareness, journaling is a mindfulness practice anyone can do. Mindfulness journaling aims to focus on the present moment and write about your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Journaling can also be used to reflect on your mindful meditation experience, where you document any physical sensations, thoughts,
These are just some ways you can start practicing mindfulness in your everyday life. It's essential to find what works best for you and be patient with yourself as you learn how to practice mindfulness throughout the day and allow these positive mindfulness interventions to improve your life.
ANAHANA MEDITATION RESOURCES
Body Scan Meditation
Guided Meditation For Anxiety
Meditation For Kids
Mind Body Connection
Meditation For Anxiety
Loving Kindness Meditation
How To Meditate
How Meditation Helps With Stress
How Meditation Changes The Brain
How Meditation Works
What is Meditation?
What is Mindfulness?
Meditation For Beginners
Ten yoga poses for mindfulness | Times of India
10 Simple Ways to Practice Mindfulness In Our Daily Life
Less stress, clearer thoughts with mindfulness meditation – Harvard Gazette
How to Practice Mindfulness: 11 Practical Steps and Tips