I think it's important we all strive to be a little more mindful in our day, by becoming more mindful we really can appreciate the little things more, we don't get overwhelmed by the silly things and we can accept life's wonderful quirks. Here are 4 practices that can make a very big impact on your mindful days, it's all about tuning in, not learning to tune out. We learn to recognise emotions, sensations and everything around us, the more we are in tune the easier the flow of our lives.
NOTICE THE BREATH
Noticing the breath can be one of those things we may see as easy to do, but how long can you sit and notice your breath and nothing else? Not only does noticing the breath shift our mind to an internal focus instead of an external it also calms the mind. By noticing the breath throughout the day its as if we create space from the busy surroundings, the noise, the traffic, the household stresses. Whatever you're doing right now I want you to just notice your breath... as you inhale count to 5, as you exhale count to 6. Notice how easy it can be to lose count if you're not putting in your complete attention. I would like you to do this as often as you can throughout your day, whether you are going about your daily business or taking 5 minutes sat in a quiet space. Breathing in slowly & quietly and allowing the exhalation to draw out a little longer. By elongating the exhalation it can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system which in turn calms the body and mind bringing you into a state of relaxation. Benefits of breathing: https://www.wildloveyoga.com/post/the-benefits-of-breathing
This is something that I practiced when I visited Sweden a few years ago, the practice has stuck with me since. Not something that we practice every day but we are MINDFUL of our meal times, we sit without distractions, we take our time and have a space for eating all together. When staying in Sweden I woke at 6am, practiced yoga for 2 hours & then had breakfast, from 6am - 10am we were in silence regardless of how many people were around. Just you, your thoughts, your feelings, your tasks. Making breakfast (or any mealtime) a silent time gives you perfect opportunity to enjoy flavours, rekindle a connection to your taste buds, feel textures and get more benefits from your food! By slowing down it gives you chance to boost the digestive system which aids in the food being digested more efficiently, you may also notice you become fuller quicker, because you're paying attention instead of scoffing a subway in the car on the drive home from work. Plan your meals, taste, smell, feel and sit quietly without distractions.
Having a journal can really help us become more mindful, we can write, process and learn to understand things when seeing them visually. I don't know about you but I learn visually, I find it difficult to take in information when it's just two dimensional. By writing in a journal you can literally express yourself, whatever you're feeling. It's a personal practice for you to enjoy, don't hold back, be honest, be open and get things off your chest. It doesn't matter if you feel a little silly writing it down, better out on paper than constantly repeating itself in your mind! Maybe the perfect time to write is just before bed (you'll find a preference) write down all the positive things you noticed within the day, and write down all the negative things. If your negatives outweigh the positives we have some work to do. Start going into more detail into why you feel the way you do about something, if something frustrates you why? Is it something in your control? NO? Then why are you worrying about it? Our minds can get tangled up with all sorts of emotions throughout just a single day so by journalling it can help you put things into perspective. Recognise what you value, notice where you get triggered, make a master plan to heal something that hurt you, write down everything you're grateful for, every. single. day.
CONNECT TO YOUR SENSES
Connecting to your senses is one of the first things you learn to practice within a yoga class, you notice the room around you, the people, the yoga mats, the mirrors, whos flexible, who isn't... already your are experiencing SENSATION overload, and that's VISUALLY! Over time you will gain the tools to turn your attention inwards, still noticing the outward distractions but not becomes overwhelmed by them. It just takes time, like the 'Journal' post above we interpret life in our own way and it is up to us to notice how we respond to outward stimulation. To become more mindful on a day to day basis we can connect to our senses, going for a walk is a good example. As you are taking your strides, feel the texture beneath your feet, listen to the sounds, smell the air, look around you. Let yourself be connected to the environment, notice the birds, take time to look at the flowers, look up at the trees. Life really isn't all about blending in with the rat race, its respecting and remembering that you live your life at your own pace.
So from this moment take time to connect to your sense, look, feel, listen, taste and smell. When you have your next meal take time to enjoy the flavours of the food, even better take time to cook your own food, experiment and enjoy it! Just before its time for bed journal about how you felt throughout the day, what made you feel good, what you did and what you're grateful for. Last but never least, something that takes president in this post about mindfulness, notice your breath, in moments of happiness, in moments of chaos, in the midst of an argument, taking a walk, just before you sleep.
Your breath has a beautiful way of communicating with you, if you notice it closely enough you can teach yourself to relax, whatever is going on around you.
All my love,