Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment. What are some of the benefits of being mindful? It reduces anxiety, promote kindness and compassion for yourself and others. Try out some of these easy mindfulness practices and see the positive effects it has.
5 minutes breathing meditation
This practice is best done every morning. However, if that doesn't work for you, pick any time when you have 5 spare minutes. Set a timer for 5 minutes and start by sitting tall and comfortably while focusing on your breath.
- Be aware of the breath as it comes into your body and again as it leaves: inhale and exhale. Notice how each breath feels and the difference between each one.
- As thoughts come into your mind; see them and watch them go, but don't linger on them. Come back to your body and to your breath. When your mind starts to wander, return to the breath.
Over time, see if you can increase the length of the breathing meditation.
- Breath in slowly through the nose and raise both arms up and over your head. If it's comfortable to do so, stand on your toes.
- Hold your position and take a slow breath in.
- Slowly exhale as you bring your arms down. Let the heels come down and your spine rise. Your shoulders should drop, your chest will be open, you chin should feel loose.
Repeat this routine two or three times to really get the most out of these mindfulness breathing exercises. Practice this technique in the morning, throughout the day or whenever you need it.
Choose one activity to do mindfully
This exercise may sounds obvious but it's harder than you might think. But, if done correctly, it is highly effective. Pick one activity that you can give all of your attention to. This can be anything from brushing your teeth to doing the washing-up or cooking a meal.
Focus totally on the activity without thinking about anything else. Work on this activity mindfully every day and, when ready, choose another activity to work with, increasing your activities with time.
Practice mindfulness before bed
This mindfulness technique is best done from a seated or lying position.
Be aware of each part of the body in turn. From your feet, ankles and calves to your knees and right up to the crown of your head. Be aware of the whole of your body. Let your breath be slow, steady and even.
Follow these three steps
- Step 1: Concentrate on your body. Focus on specific areas of your body. This might be your feet, the crown of your head, the length of your spine or the muscles of your forehead. Breathe.
- Step 2: Be aware of where you are. It could be waiting at the traffic lights, in a queue at the supermarket or waiting for the kettle to boil. Take the time to notice how you feel; happy, sad, distracted. Be present, be here now.
- Step 3: Move on to the next part of the day.
Did you know that the WEA offers a number of health and wellbeing courses? Book a class today and start your mindfulness journey today.