5 ways to become more mindful
People talk a lot of mindfulness, but what does it mean? It's personal for everyone - from managing your mental load to savouring the moment and living for today. There's more information than ever out there about reaching this state of mind. Research shows that mindfulness can help us ease the stress in our lives and be good for our mental health. Check out our 5 tips for how to embrace mindfulness in your life.
1. Mindfulness - It's as easy as breathing
Full-on meditation may feel like it's not for you. But there are lots of ways to get benefits from mindfulness that don't feel 'woo'. Try finding time in your day to go somewhere quiet and sit comfortably on the floor. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 10 minutes.
Practice makes perfect, so aim to develop your breathing technique by building it into your regular routine. First thing in the morning might work for you, or if mornings are a little hectic, you might find just before bedtime is better. With the added benefit of encouraging you to have some screen-free time before bed. A 10-minute time-out if you're having a rough day at the office can do you the world of good. Don't think about your to-do list, just breathe and "be" for a moment.
2. Focus your mind on the now
What moments do you cherish in your day? Don't forget to slow down and pay attention so you can rediscover these moments and find the joy in your life. Getting out into nature is a great place to find serenity and develop your mindfulness. Talk a walk in the forest and appreciate the scents, sights and sounds.
Find the glimpses of nature at home. The raindrops on your window, the wind at night, the sunlight peering through the curtains. Your day is full of little moments that may not be exciting - but they can be enriching. Try and slow down during your day and notice the little things around you. It may even help you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the day-to-day challenges.
3. Get the most out of your mind and body
Have you ever thought about trying yoga or another stretching exercise? These are not just about your body but also about connecting with your mind. Check out what's on locally to you and try something new to help you change your mindset.
There may be a lot of choices out there, so don't get overwhelmed. Just check that you join a class that suits your ability and knowledge level so you can be most comfortable. And if yoga and the like is not for you, all forms of exercise can be an exercise in mindfulness. So don't limit yourself, jogging, swimming and even walking will all help. Leave your headphones at home and learn to love the quiet focus of your exercise.
4. Try something different
You could draw inspiration from the wider world. In Scandinavian culture, going to a sauna is considered an everyday experience that also has almost spiritual benefits. Over 90% of Finnish people go for a sauna visit at least once a week? That might sound amazing for an activity that involves getting naked and sitting in a hot room, but it's a big part of the culture and has amazing benefits enjoyed for generations. But you don't necessarily have to go the whole hog, there are plenty of gyms and spas here in the UK that you can enjoy with a bit more modesty.
Like in some forms of yoga (check out hot stone yoga for example), being immersed in heat is an experience in itself. It can help relax your muscles and your mind. There is not much to do in a very hot room full of steam, except to sit and hopefully reach a state of mindfulness.
5. Immerse yourself in hobbies and crafts
Mindfulness is not just a concept, but it's also big business! From self-help books, audiobooks, adult colouring books and aromatherapy, you can buy many things that claim to help you achieve mindfulness. And the good news is that there are plenty of things out there to help you on your mindfulness journey and it's mostly a matter of finding what works for you.
Hobbies, crafts and arts are good ways into a more mindful state of mind. Immersing yourself in hobbies that include repetitive activity such as colouring or knitting are especially good at freeing your mind. Clear your mind and concentrate on the details of the task at hand to strike a perfect balance to take a break from the stress in your life.
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