It seems the idea of “mindfulness” is tossed around everywhere these days, but many are still unsure about what it really means. If you’re confused, you’re not alone! The idea of mindfulness is a simple concept by definition, but can be hard to understand without actually experiencing it firsthand.
So, to help clear the air a bit and teach you how to put it into practice, we’re here to tell you why mindfulness is helpful and how you can make it a part of your daily ritual to start soaking up the benefits.
Benefits of a Daily Mindfulness Practice:
Enables you to learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings or emotions. Allow whatever you’re feeling, whether it’s happy or depressed or envious, to be present without judgement. As you are feeling that emotion, recognize that it is there, find acceptance, and then move on. Although sometimes it’s hard to get out of a funk, staying in a negative mindset will make it harder to work through it. Negative thoughts drain your energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you give to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become.
“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” – The Dalai Lama
Helps you focus. In this hectic digital world, we are used to being connected nearly every moment of every day, which trains us to think that being still is boring. Practicing mindfulness helps you become aware of your surroundings and existing in the moment, not checking what everybody else is up to on those big and little screens.
Keeps you cool as a cucumber. Once you’re able to allow your thoughts and feelings to be present without judgement, and you stop thinking about them as even “good” or “bad”, you’ll see how much less you’ll sweat the small stuff and it’ll be easier to accept whatever comes your way.
Helps you stay present. Whether it’s the humming of a vent, an outdoor breeze, or your breath, sitting in stillness and being aware of your surroundings is almost like stopping time. You suddenly become aware of the present moment and there is a calmness that comes over you. It really is that simple!
How to practice a simple mindfulness meditation:
- Sit comfortably and begin by focusing on your breath. If you need help focusing, try saying silently to yourself on your inhale “I am breathing in” and on your exhale “I am breathing out”. Just this consciousness helps you focus on what’s happening in the present moment, the simple act of inhaling and exhaling. If you find that your mind starts to wander (to-do lists, what to have for dinner tonight for example) then come back to these 2 simple phrases.
- Now that you’re focused, start to move away from your breath and become more aware of your thoughts and the sounds around you. When a thought comes to mind, don’t suppress it, judge it, or allow it to take you away completely, but rather simply acknowledge it and what it feels like for a moment before letting it go.
- A mindfulness meditation practice is often a combination of drifting away from and then bringing yourself back to the present, but the key is that you do it without judgement. For example, if you’re thinking “I’m so stressed and overwhelmed”, try and sit in that and allow yourself to feel it rather than letting it barrel down into frustration, or more stress. If you find that your mind starts to get carried away listing the reasons you are stressed and overwhelmed, simply come back to your breathing again: “I am breathing in, I am breathing out”. Once you can sit in the feeling of being stressed without judging it as good or bad, simply let it go.
The best news is you don’t have to sit in full lotus (cross legged with feet on opposing thighs) to practice this. You can do it while you are completing simple tasks such as washing the dishes, going for a walk, or gardening. Just focus on every detail of what you are doing while you are doing it.
We hope this helps you weave more mindfulness into your daily activities. How do you practice mindfulness each day?