Ten Minutes of Mindfulness Per Day
‘when you drink just drink, when you walk just walk’
As we find ourselves living in Groundhog Day at the start of this New Year it is starting to feel as if normality as we knew is just in the distance yet keeps slipping out of sight or reach.
During these strange times we are all now fully aware of the importance of self care and the power of the mind. How looking after ourselves mentally, spiritually, physically is incredibly important and can really get us through some of the toughest of times.
Mindfulness and implementing mindful strategies can mean that one will have an increased experience of relaxation and calm, increased self acceptance and self confidence, more self-compassion and compassion for others as well as less danger of experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. It is now during this time that we must look inward and look after all aspects of ourselves not just the physical. It is known as a great intervention for our busy and stress filled lives.
Mindfulness is simply being aware and or bringing attention to the present moment deliberately. By reconnecting with simple moments and things we are able to rediscover a sense of childlike curiosity, peace and enjoyment where we once saw nothing.
With only five or ten minutes a day you can develop the habit of including mindfulness into your schedules in many different ways…
- Tune In — simply be and experience life as it comes to fruition. Start by sitting and either gently close your eyes or half closed depending on what is comfortable for you. We are using sound to experience the present moment. Allowing sounds to enter your awareness and then let them pass. Try to let go of labelling the specific sounds you hear, as you’ll then trigger the thinking part of the brain when you need to be present. Try starting with this for five minutes. Whenever you notice the mind wandering, without judgement return to your awareness of the sounds and really listen
- Pebble Meditation — by either visualising a pebble or choosing a real one cast it into the water to connect with your inner sensations. Notice the thoughts, feelings and sensenations you feel as you watch the pebble be thrown into the water and how it sinks. Let the pebble settle at the bottom of the pond. What do you feel, what do you think? Are there any messages arising from your consciousness? Stay here for a little longer, and just breathe
- Mindful Walking — you can do this inside or outside where ever you feel comfortable. You’ll need enough space for 10 steps in one direction. Feel every movement of your foot hitting the ground. Take in the environment you’re walking in. As you step, notice the heel coming off the floor, how your foot feels, how your leg feels, the noise your foot or shoe makes as it lands on the floor. Break the step or the walk up into little tiny moments
- Check your breath — breath is the energy for life. Deep breathing expands the lungs and tells the heart to beat slower. Is your breath shallow or deep? Does it come from your belly or your chest? Is it regular, rough or smooth? Stay in tune with your breath and use it to check yourself when you’re unsure, are feeling nervous, anxious, angry anything. It will centre you
- Knee Hug — this position is great for releasing anxiety. In this position control your breathing and ground your back into the floor. Lying on your back on a blanket or mat and using a pillow for your neck gently bend your legs one at a time into the chest and gently hold them. Keep your spine long and press each vertebra into the floor. Pay attention to the breath and hold for as long as your are comfortable. When you’re ready, release slowly
- Get lost in the music — music is a powerful art form and can play a part in practicing mindfulness daily. Choose a song you have never heard and play it. Try to avoid letting your mind drift into the lyrics, the artist but listen to the song, and the beat of the music whilst keeping your thoughts at bay
- Mindful Eating — exactly the same as mindful walking but with food. Tasting each piece or mouthful as if it was your first. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What is the texture? Savour each bite, focus on the food like you’ve never seen it before. Food should be savoured by the mind as well as the body
- Gratitude Practice — gratitude and appreciation allows us to feel internal joy and create chemicals of peace inside the body. Writing down grateful experiences can lead to better health, less stress and more optimism on our days which is definitely something we need right now. Find a comfortable and quiet spot and give yourself a few minutes to jot down all the things you’re grateful for. Read through the list once you have finished and internally or externally give words of thanks to each one.
- Meditation — now this one isn’t for everybody and can be difficult at first which is why so many of the options above a great for being mindful. Paying attention to the breath and anchor yourself to the present moment on purpose with zero judgement. Meditation gives you some space, a little bit of a time out, some kindness and a patience to yourself. Sit comfortably and be prepared to sit for a few minutes and focus on the natural inhale and exhalation of the breath. Where do you feel your breath the most, in the belly or nose or chest? Follow your breath for two minutes. When you find your mind start to wander, head back to your breath. You’ll most probably find your mind may have wandered a little, was your mind busy, were you distracted? Meditation is just a little pause from our incessant daily thoughts. Give yourself that time out
- Look Beyond Your Eyes — pick a focus on a new aspect of life. A flower, a piece of furniture, a painting or photo you walk past regularly at home, a tree on your commute to work. The small things count and having a sense of increased adventure and curiosity means you can learn and experience more every moment. Stepping out of autopilot and experiencing routine things and tasks like you would for the first time is extremely refreshing
How do you include mindfulness in your days? Do you already? If so, how do you feel afterwards?