Once you’ve started a meditation practice, it’s time to start adding Mindfulness exercises to your repertoire.
What are the opportunities for mindfulness?
Moments of Mindfulness can be had pretty much any time, and anywhere. Even 5 minutes each day will make a difference.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. It’s about taking notice of the sensations that we’re experiencing and the emotions we’re feeling right now.
Generally, as humans, we’re either contemplating what’s going to happen in the future, or dwelling on the things that have happened in the past. Rarely do we take the time to savor what’s happening right now.
But, right now is where the power is. Stress and Anxiety live in the past, for example when we’re worrying about a decision we’ve made. And, in the future, like when we’re not sure what the result of an action is going to be.
There’s unlimited ways to be mindful. In fact, everything you do, can be done mindfully.
- You can try Mindful Eating
- Mindful Walking
- Mindful Breathing
- or even, Mindful Exercise
The list goes on and on.
So, here’s a couple of things to try…
Let’s start with an easy one. Take some time right now, to notice your thoughts and feelings. Just be aware of them. Don’t try to understand them or judge them. Don’t make decisions about them, or wonder why you’re thinking, or feeling them. Just notice them and let them pass.
A lot of the stress and anxiety in our lives is caused because we feel obligated to identify with these thoughts and feelings.
For example, we feel anger and so act angrily. Or we think we’ll fail, so don’t bother to try, then regret that we didn’t achieve what we wanted.
By mindfully noticing our thoughts and feelings, without judgement, we can act using a logical decision, rather than an emotional one.
Or, you could try mindful breathing. Get yourself into a relaxed postion and just concentrate on what’s happening in your body right now.
Take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Then, as you’re breathing, focus on the feeling of the air as it goes into your nostrils as you inhale. And the slight temperature change of the exhaled air as you breathe out.
Picture in your minds-eye, the breath as it travels through your nose, down your windpipe and into your lungs. You can place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Then, you can feel the rise and fall as you breathe in and out.
You could take this breathing exercise a stage further and focus on each part of your body in turn. For example, start by focusing on the pressure between your feet and the floor. The sensation of your fingers resting on your thighs. Maybe the slight movement of the hairs on your arms, from the slight breeze from the open window.
Whatever the situation is for you, focus on those sensations mindfully, without judgement.
The more you practice being mindful, the easier and more beneficial it becomes. And remember, you really can be mindful about anything.
How can I eat mindfully?
In fact, Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, starts his courses by introducing a mindful eating exercise with a raisin. You can watch a video of the exercise, from ‘The Will to Heal Project’, below.
Give it a try, it’s quite eye-opening how such a simple exercise can reveal so much.
If you have any questions, or want to share an experience, I’d love you to share it in the comments 🙂
Until next time, stay mindful.