Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and through other training. Often taught in Buddhist teachings, mindfulness is utilized to develop self-knowledge, self-compassion and wisdom that gradually lead to what is described as enlightenment or the complete freedom from suffering.
When it comes to psychology, moderate evidence has shown that mindfulness can reduce anxiety, depression, pain, stress and can improve the overall quality of one’s life.
Mindfulness is especially useful for those who have a tendency to overthink and worry, as the practice brings the attention of the mind to the body, which helps to slow down the mind and can bring about relaxation.
As when starting anything new, it can be challenging to maintain a constant state of mindfulness, but keep at it!
Here are 7 mindful habits that are challenging at first to adopt but will benefit your life forever:
1. Practice Gratitude
Being grateful for the blessings we have in our lives is one of the most important skills to develop in life and in the practice of mindfulness. It reminds us to appreciate and enjoy what we already have, rather than desiring for more or desiring what others have. Each morning and each night, try writing down or thinking about several things you are grateful for.
They can be something as small as you enjoyed your dinner, or you shared a smile with someone while walking outside. They key is to begin the habit of thinking about the things you are grateful for each day, and as this practice becomes a habit, you’ll notice your feelings begin to feel wonderful as you become grateful for each and every day.
2. Feel Your Feet And Your Palms
The mind has a tendency to wander between thoughts, thinking of past and future circumstances, so by focusing on the feeling in your feet and palms you bring your mind to the present moment and to what you are experiencing right now. This practice will anchor you in the present moment, which helps to reduce overthinking and the stress and worry that comes from it.
Bring your attention to the feelings and sensations in your palms, and in your feet. You can practice this while both sitting and also while walking. Once you’re attention is centered on your body, gently clench your fists, then release. Clench. Release. Clench. Release. This helps your mind to focus on your body. The mind will likely soon try to distract itself and think of something else, but continue the practice when it does, and allow the mind to relax as you focus on your body.
3. Notice The Environment Around You
When practicing mindfulness, you don’t have to completely manipulate your emotions to stay in the present moment; just take a moment to observe and take in your surroundings. Allow your mind to let go and relax.
Then you’re able to see and calmly enjoy the beauty around you; the small plants and flowers growing, snow falling, the sound of birds singing. Notice any object that is near you, and take a moment to simply look at it and appreciate its beauty. Notice the colors of the environment around you, and let your mind relax and you simply sit and peacefully observe. Noticing what is around you in this way helps to bring the mind to the moment, helps it to relax, and is a wonderful habit of mindfulness to develop.
4. Breathe Deeply
Nearly every meditation and Yoga practice has a focus on deep breathing for a good reason: It is proven to relax the body and mind. Begin by inhaling for 4 seconds while counting 1….2….3….4…. , and then exhaling for four seconds 1….2….3….4…. Practice this relaxing way of deep breathing for a few minutes until you feel your mind and body begin to relax.
5. Listen, Don’t Just Hear
Often when listening to someone, we are somewhat listening, formulating what we will say next, and also thinking about other things that are preoccupying our attention. Take a minute when talking with someone, to let your mind relax, and give 100% of your attention to listening to what the other person is saying. Listen with an open heart, and try to listen without judging or measuring what the other is saying. Being able to listen without inner distractions is a wonderful way to stay within the present moment.
6. Really Focus On Your Experience When You’re Eating
Mindful eating is paying full attention to all of the experiences and sensations that occur while eating and drinking. These can be both inside and outside of the body: sights, smells, flavors, textures, colors, temperatures and even the sounds of your food. Try to pay full attention to the chewing process, and eat a little slower than you usually would. After practicing this technique, most people begin to become aware of which foods nourish and sustain their bodies, and which foods their body wants to avoid.
7. Mindful Shower
The time we bathe and shower is the perfect time to practice mindfulness. Simply observe the beauty of the water flowing and rinsing your skin, feel the warm sensations, and enjoy the relaxation. Showers are natural times of mindfulness as our attention is focused on our bodies, so by consciously practicing mindfulness, we can receive even more enjoyment from this experience.
Have any of these mindfulness habits benefited you and your life?
Let us know in the comments.
You are loved.