I’m a great believer in the benefits of practicing ‘mindfulness’.
There may be some of you reading this that might not know exactly what mindfulness is or what it means and that’s ok because over the course of time (each Monday), I’ll explain more and will be covering many aspects of how to practice mindfulness as well as the benefits of practicing it! In a nutshell, mindfulness is about slowing down, clearing your mind and focusing on the present. If you are a visual person like me, this image might be helpful!
There is no time like the present to start learning! Let’s start with a very simple mindful meditation exercise. Don’t get freaked out by the word meditation ok – just follow the instructions below!
When you have finished reading this post, stay there in your chair, feet planted firmly on the floor, back straight in your chair, close your eyes and do the following:
- Concentrate on your breathing – in through your nose, out through your mouth – and the rise and fall of your chest. This helps to clear your head of thoughts so that you can better concentrate on the here and now. Once you feel that you have cleared your mind as best you can, you are ready for the steps 2-6 where you will be concentrating your focus on the present moment. For the next steps, spend at least a couple of minutes on each. Don’t rush through them. If any thoughts come into your mind, don’t panic – it is quite normal and does not mean you have failed. Acknowledge them and then send them on their way with the promise you will deal with them later.
- Focus on your hearing. What can you hear? Can you hear birds chirping? The sound of the fridge? A clock ticking? Your own breathing?
- Focus on your sense of smell. What can you smell? Food? Perfume?
- What are you feeling? Are you happy, sad, anxious, excited?
- How is your body feeling sitting in the chair you are in? Are you comfortable? Can you notice any aches and pains?
- What can you taste in your mouth? Have you just recently eaten or had a drink? Is there a lingering taste? When you are ready – open your eyes and reflect on how that experience made you feel? Before, during and after?
I kept this exercise brief because of the need for you to memorize the above before shutting your eyes to do the exercise. This is a very simple but great way to start the practice of mindfulness. If you have done all of the above, you have successfully cleared your usually very active mind and lived mindfully in the present moment. Congratulations!!
Soon we will add ‘vision’ to the practice but first it is important to learn to clear the mind and closing your eyes is the best way to start with that.
If you’ve done the above exercise, I’d love to hear how you went in the comments below!
Ciao for now,
[Note: This post has been linked up with One Mother Hen’s – Open Slather]
I have lived a very mindless sort of life, but I’m starting to bring it back home. My husbie practices mindfulness every morning with the Mindful app. I can’t quite get into that, but I CAN get into taking moments in my day to really feel and appreciate the now. I’ve also been much better at allowing emotions to flow through me, rather than blocking them or worrying at them. It’s been a wonderful revelation. x
I led a pretty mindless or rather mind full life previously which made me want to learn about living a mindful life. I didn’t know there was a Mindful app but then I have an Android (not an iPhone). If you can take a moment or two through your day to appreciate the now then you’re on the right track! Also a great revelation you’ve had too! 😉 xo
We did the breathing thing at the Bloggers Brunch – it made me feel like I’d pass out (I think maybe because I’m such a tightly wound bundle of stress at the moment, my body has forgotten what normal feels like).
I’ve actually been using my phone to take photos of things that make me happy – things I see walking down the street, quirky things, just whatever and where ever. I have a really odd collection on my phone, and it does make me mindful and more ‘in the moment’ as a side effect…
Not good to hear you are a tightly wound bundle of stress at the moment Lydia! I hope you take the time to look after yourself. Stress is not good! Taking photo’s of things that make you happy is a great thing to do and you’re right – it is being mindful to actually stop, look and recognise something that makes you happy. I did a 365 Grateful project where I took a photo of something I was grateful for for 365 days. It was an amazing project to undertake and had a huge impact on how I see the world now. xo
I have a mindfulness bell that triggers me to practice multiple times a day. It is so good for our wellbeing to reconnect with our body through our senses and actually feel.
What a great idea Sarah. Is the bell on your phone? Yes – it sure is good for our wellbeing to take some time to do a bit of a body scan & be aware of our senses and feelings! xo
Love it! Despite my best intentions sometimes I do forget 🙂
Trust me – so do I. Part of the reason I am doing these Mindful Mondays posts is to refresh and remind myself of the benefits of making time to practice Mindfulness! 😉 xo
This is the kind of meditation I like. Focusing on our sensory intake is wonderful. I love to do this during a walk in nature. Xx looking forward to these Mondays xx
I enjoy these kind of meditations too Deb…and also when out in nature! I have lots more coming up on Mondays – so pleased you look forward to them. 🙂 xo
This is something I try to do at night to help me sleep and stop those thoughts from rushing into my brain and making me evade sleep!
Me too Em! I actually do a ‘body scan’ meditation when I am trying to go to sleep. It’s a little longer than this one but similar! 🙂 xo
I love that Mind Full/mindful image. A short meditation like this sounds just what I need to do. I am so tense sometimes 🙂
Hi Alicia – it’s a great image isn’t it. Sometimes a picture tells a thousand words (as that saying goes). A short meditation can really help if you’re feeling tense! 🙂
Hi Min, love that ‘Mindfull’ or ‘Mindful’ I think an image can speak to us so much more sometimes. Mindfulness is not easy but I do think with practice we can enjoy those moments. Great to be linking up at #ZTT and have a great week! xx
Hi Sue, I love that ‘Mindful’ vs ‘Mindfull’ image too – it explains the difference so well! There are great benefits that come along with practicing Mindfulness, so it’s well worth the effort! 🙂 xo
I am a learner always when it comes to mindfulness and mindlessness. I am using the two so-called opposing views to observe what, how and when I eat. I am learning more about my own and very old patterned eating habits which did not do me any good and how I can be more interested in the motive behind my eating. Two books, both very interesting. Good to know more about anything that helps with our quality of life as I appreciate more each day.
I still have some dreadful eating habits Denyse. I’m an emotional eater and can eat mindlessly – like a whole packet of something! I don’t always eat when I’m hungry! It’s a very hard thing to stop/beat/overcome. I’d be interested to hear more about those books you’re reading! I agree that anything that helps our quality of life is fascinating to me. xo
What a good way to introduce mindfulness and a meditation practice! Love the visual for Mind Full or Mindful. Thanks for hosting #ZTT.
Thanks Nancy – I thought so too. Very simple but effective. That visual is fabulous isn’t it?! Thank you for linking up with #ZTT ! 🙂