In this article, we have prepared a list of directions – not a set of fixed, but rigid instructions on how to practice mindfulness.
But before you begin, determine how much time you plan to spend. If you have no experience with meditative states, 10 minutes can be a starting point.
We will also look at the physical and mental benefits of practicing mindfulness as well as the ultimate guide to follow when doing the actual practice.
So here is how to practice mindfulness.
1. Find a comfortable place
Although Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, there are places that make it easier to practice.
First, it is good to choose a relatively quiet place where you will not be disturbed. For example, many preschoolers prefer to do this in the office or early in the morning before they wake up.
The air temperature comfortable (neither too hot nor too cold). The light should be neither excessive nor absent.
The central idea is to feel safe and comfortable.
2. Find the best posture for you
If you are passionate about meditative practices, you can experiment with the lotus or half lotus position.
Alternatively, you can choose to sit on a chair or armchair and keep your back straight.
If you are not very tired, you can lie on your back on a smooth surface, such as a blanket or isoprene.
If you are in a moment of anxiety or psychomotor agitation, you can choose to practice mindfulness even while walking around the room or in nature – paying close attention to the act of walking itself.
It is important not to try all the positions at once, as this may discourage you from continuing the practice.
It is also better to close your eyes and keep them closed throughout the practice in order to refocus your attention from the outside to the inside.
3. Relax in the chosen posture (as much as you can / feel)
You will notice that in order to maintain a posture a minimum number of muscles need to be activated, while the rest of the body can simply relax.
The purpose of the practice it is not relaxation in itself, but it helps to “calm the waters”
4. Start by observing your body
How do you feel? Tired or energized, calm or agitated? Is there any discomfort? Notice all this and accept it, without attaching any meaning to it.
You can “scan” your body gradually, from the top of the head to the soles of the feet, focusing your attention on different parts of it (eg the top of the head, the forehead area, the facial muscles, the neck muscles, etc.
5. Continue observing your breathe
Just pay attention to your breathing and observe how it happens on its own: without control, direction or force. Let
this normal, natural and automatic process of your body simply happen – as you just do it. notice.
Feel every breath inside you, from the chest and abdomen, rather than from the head.
You will notice that your attention may be distracted by your thoughts and / or emotions. It is what our mind has been doing for a very long time, and the habit is (at least in the beginning) stronger than the new teaching. If this happens, gently return carefully to your breath.
6. Observe your states here and now
Focus neutrally on what is happening in your psychic universe: thoughts, emotions, ideas, dreams, mental imagery.
Simply observe, without judging, reacting or categorizing what is happening in your consciousness.
Let them exist, pass, perish on the screen of your mind without identifying with them, or let them define you at that moment.
So what after learning how to practice mindfulness? What’s in for you physically and mentally? Here’s what you get:
The Benefits of Mindfulness
- Reduce stress levels (get inner peace )
- It lowers blood pressure
- Improves sleep-wake cycle and reduces sleep disorders ( insomnia , hypersomnia)
- May increase the body’s immunity (due to reduced distress).
In psychotherapy, the practice of Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in treating depression, anxiety , eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, and with patients near imminent death.
- It also reduces rumination : over time and with practice, it can help us break the vicious circle of automatic thoughts and even compulsive behaviors.
- Improve concentration : practitioners can channel their attentional resources more efficiently.
- Improve working memory : By reducing mental fog and the chaos of out-of-control thoughts, working memory can work more efficiently.
- Reduce emotional reactivity : when faced with a stimulus, we can choose how to respond rather than react automatically – based on past automatic patterns. Basically, we have a greater margin of choice over what happens to us.
- More effective emotional self-regulation : due to the fact that emotions no longer overwhelm the individual when they occur, their impact decreases and they can be managed effectively.
- Increased relationship satisfaction : when the response takes the place of the reaction, communication in the couple improves.
- Mental stability : the practice of Mindfulness helps you navigate with lucidity and presence through states of joy and sadness, calm and anger alike. The mind no longer gets lost in spirals of thoughts and feelings.
- Anchoring in the present moment : the state of presence can be accessed more often. It being often associated with an increased life satisfaction.
Here are the best principles to guide you when practicing mindfulness
- Don’t try to pay attention to too many things at once. Select only one thing to focus on (eg breathing).
- If images or things come to mind that alarm you in any way, keep in mind that they can’t hurt you – just as dreams can’t hurt you. If you feel overwhelmed by some things, moving away from them you can replace that feeling of overwhelm with a spirit of curiosity and interest in what is happening, with an open heart and mind.
- After any “derailment”, when you return carefully to the present moment, do it gently , without judging yourself, or considering that you have missed the purpose of the practice (on the contrary, the return represents success!).
- Feel free to observe what is , without identifying with the content of your thoughts . It is as if you witness the flow of your consciousness, without swimming in its turbulent waters, and without being carried away by currents in one direction or another. Witnessing is one of the extraordinary abilities of the human psyche.
- Use your breath as an anchor for your attention . Whenever your mind leaves the present moment, you can be sure that you can return to the observation of the breath to return to the here and now – and it has the advantage that it returns attention to the body. Breathing is a solid ground on which we can root our Mindfulness practice.
All thoughts are just… thoughts.
- Everything that means thought or mental image is considered equal in the practice of Mindfulness – no matter how noble or vile. No matter how profound or banal it might be considered outside it. Thus, we can cultivate equidistant attention – the backbone of the practice of Mindfulness and the anchor of your mental health.
- Stimuli such as outside sounds , itching or tingling are perfectly acceptable. You can turn your attention to them and accept that they are there. You will be surprised how they will disappear, sooner or later.
- As you practice, you will feel more and more subtle sensations , of whose existence you were not even aware.
- You will see that thoughts and emotions come and go from your mind in a continuous, uninterrupted, ever-changing flow . They are not solid entities or part of your identity.
- Don’t try to force or fix anything . All you have to do is manage your attention and that’s it.
- Get out of the way of the tendency to interpret , define or think about something specific. Just let thoughts and images come and go without being affected by them.
Other than sitting and practicing, there are other great ways you can practice mindfulness in your everyday life.
Here are 5 best ways on how to practice mindfulness in your everyday life
1. Shower consciously
When was the last time you really took a shower?
So not only with your body, because it is naturally in the shower, but also with your thoughts. They are often already mentally in the car, suffer from traffic jams (which may not even exist) or are annoyed about a supposed statement by a colleague in the next meeting (which they will probably never say).
Take a few breaths and feel the warm water on your skin, breathe in the moist air and the scent of the shampoo. Enjoy the moment of relaxation in the now, in this real moment
2. Eat mindfully
Practice mindfulness while eating. Smell and taste every bite. Perhaps this will work if your thoughts are with those who were involved in the long chain until the food has landed on your plate. The field, the animals, the farmers, the harvest workers, the drivers, the employees in the supermarket, the cooks,..
3. A short pause ensures mindfulness
Mindfulness can be practiced in any action. The formula for success always remains the same: to interrupt the flow of thoughts and consciously return to the now.
This can be a conscious breath on the way to work, or when you direct your awareness through your body before going to sleep and relax every part of your body. Sometimes a short break, a single breath, is enough to check into yourself. How am i doing today Where are my thoughts, feelings, physical sensations?
If you like, combine this with a little meditation.
4. Conscious breathing
Breathing consciously is a simple exercise because you can use it anywhere and no one will notice that you are practicing mindfulness. Wherever we are, on the train, in line at the supermarket or on the couch at home, we can practice conscious breathing for a moment.
It works like this:
- When we breathe in, we collect our thoughts. We draw attention from the outside world, past or future with the breath into us.
- We collect attention in the body for a moment.
- As we exhale, we relax and let ourselves sink into the present moment.
We begin the exercise with a few conscious breaths and then let the breath take its natural course. Now the natural rhythm of collecting and relaxing can follow. If you find yourself in a tense situation, you can focus your attention on your shoulders when you breathe in and consciously relax them when you breathe out. In this way you can gradually relax the entire body.
5. American combat breathing
If all this is too spiritual for you, you might be convinced by the American military. There a simple breathing exercise is called “combat” or ” tactical breathing “. We know it better under the name “ Box Breathing ” as a great way to reduce stress and calm down, this breathing technique is used by first responders, the military and athletes to concentrate, gain calm and control and with stress to deal with.
It can also help keep anxiety and nervousness at bay.
- Take a few breaths as described here. Imagine each number as you count it.
- With the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 in front of you, breathe in an imaginary line to the right.
- Hold your breath and count down an imaginary line with 1, 2, 3, 4.
- Exhale an imaginary line to the left with 1, 2, 3, 4.
- Hold your breath and count 1, 2, 3, 4 up.
Practicing mindfulness is as important as any of your other everyday activity. It possible to practice mindfulness through meditation and through other daily activities. Mindfulness helps you relax and think actively. It gives you the peace that you need, it improves your health and gives you a positive vibe that makes you feel like a winner! Let me know what you think about this post on how to practice mindfulness!
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