Mindfulness is about being aware of the moment without judgement. Just taking in all the sights, sounds, smells, thoughts etc, of the moment. I thought I would write down some mindfulness exercises that may be helpful to reduce the stress in your life. Mindfulness has been known to help reduce anxiety. It has definitely decreased my anxiety, so it may be helpful for you. As I mentioned when you are focused on the present. You have no time to worry about the past, or future to cause anxiety. Mindfulness takes practice and patience. It isn’t easy to master, but with persistence and motivation it can be done. I don’t use all the exercises, because some don’t interest me. You should do whichever one suits you, or interest you. It is about what is right for you. Here are some exercises.
Body Scan-The idea is to pay attention to your body, become aware of your body. You can lie down, or sit down, whichever way feels comfortable to you. You will then go through each part of your body, putting it into focus. You can start from head to toe, or vice versa, or any where. You will then pay attention to the sensations of that body part- pain, comfort, tightness, or any feeling at all. There is no right or wrong answer, just go with what you are feeling. You will do that with each body part you focus on. It s about becoming aware of the sensations of your body. This can take up to 20-30 minutes. But it is best to do it as long as you feel the need to. I actually have never tried this technique, but this technique comes up a lot in the suggestions for practicing mindfulness. Not sure this one suits me, but if this interest you, go give it a try. Whatever way to keep you in the present moment.
Mindful Eating/ Drinking–I just put these two together, because they fit together. This exercise is about being aware of what you are eating and drinking. Try to focus on what you are eating and drinking. I always make the mistake of eating without really taking in the taste of the food, really savoring the food at the moment. I am busy focusing on something else. I am sure lots of people do that. You can be in the present by slowly eating or drinking. Taking in the smell, taste, texture. How it feels in your mouth or throat. What are your thoughts on what you are eating, or drinking. Is it good, bad, need more flavor, too cold, too bitter etc,? Really taking it in your food or drink. I admit I rarely do this one. I am usually watching something, skimming through social media, or researching something while I am eating or drinking. I wouldn’t mind trying this one. If you like to try to give your food a little more mindfulness, go ahead and try this one.
Mindful Observation/ Walking- This exercise is all about paying attention to your surroundings. We always like to keep moving, going from place to place, but we rarely take the time to see what is around us. This exercise teaches you to pay attention to what is around you. It can be while you are at home, working, walking to your car, sitting in your car in traffic. Try to take a moment to focus on your surroundings. what do you see? Do you like, or not like what you see? How does these things make you feel? Maybe you’ll discover something new, or see something in a different perspective. I always try to look up at the clouds whenever I am sitting in traffic to keep my mind off of the traffic, so I don’t get frustrated that I am not moving. It makes the traffic much more tolerable. Instead of worrying about getting to your next destination. You can focus on what is in front of you. This can alleviate the tension you are feeling. You can also try going for a walk in nature, or the city, or anywhere you like, and take in all the sights, sounds and smells while you are walking. I always try to take walk in nature, and just immerse myself in the sights and sounds. I also like to go near the water, and just watch and hear the water flow. It is very peaceful. Try to take the time to enjoy what is around you at the moment. You may like what you see.
Mindful Immersion-This exercise is about finding contentment in the moment. This activity can be helpful for times when you are rushing to get things done. I find this exercise helpful when I am out shopping. I hate shopping, and I want it done and over with, so I try to rush and stress myself out in the process, because my thoughts are on getting home. I have learned that I have to center myself to the moment while I am shopping. I try not to rush myself. I just focus on what I am doing. I try to walk through the store at a slower pace. I put my focus on what I am buying. I may even look around at the other people shopping. I think to myself I will get home eventually. No matter what this has to get done, so why not make it more bearable? I must focus on what I am doing now, and try to enjoy it as much as I can. This helps me a lot. I find myself not stressing about shopping as much. Although, I still don’t like it, but it helps one tolerate an uncomfortable situation. So whatever situation you don’t like, don’t try to rush out of it, but try living in the moment. You may discover things about yourself and the situation when you are more aware of the moment. You gain a new perspective. The stress comes from wanting to get things done, but they will get done, so it is better to focus on the moment, so you have no worries.
Mindful Meditation-This exercise is not easy. Many people find meditation difficult. It is hard to sit there, and allow your thoughts to flow through you. Sometimes it is hard for people to keep going, because their thoughts overwhelm them. Yes, they can get overwhelming. A way to not allow your thoughts to overwhelm you is to confront each thought. Meditation isn’t a way to push away your thoughts. It is a way to understand and accept your thoughts. What I do is see each thought as a wave, or a river. I put the thought out there. I ruminate over it. I try to figure out if there is a solution, if there is, I wash it away like a wave, or throw it into the river and let it flow. If there isn’t a solution. I do the same thing. I don’t try to over-think the problem. If it can’t be fixed, there is nothing more I can do. The problem is people continue to think about the problem, instead of washing it a way. First, put the problem to the surface, then try to find a solution, or become aware there isn’t one, and then let it go. You can use another technique. I sometimes put myself in a bubble, and have thoughts bouncing off the bubble, not letting them get in. It is up to you what you want to do. You can also do simple breathing exercises. This is how you can start m. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Just continue doing this for a couple of minutes. Visualizing helps me more, but I usually start out with the breathing exercise. You can also visualize a place that you like, or find peaceful as well. Meditation, once I get through all the negative thoughts, really puts me in a peaceful place, but one has to get through all the thoughts, and that is the hard part. You can sit or lay down. Do whatever feels comfortable to you, but not too comfortable where you fall asleep. You can start by doing it for 5 minutes. I usually do it for 20 minutes. It is all up to you how long you want to meditate for.
I hope one of these exercises resonated with you, if not, that is okay too. Mindfulness isn’t for everyone, but if you are willing to try one of these. It may help make your days a little less stressful.