Hi everyone! My name is Jessy, I am a therapist at Eterna Counselling and Wellness. Today I want to share with you three easy ways you can practice mindfulness every day. While you are out for a walk, playing with the kids, or even cooking dinner.
First off, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. Being aware of your surroundings and allowing your mind to have a break from the constant ongoing dialogue happening around you. Whether it’s about work, stresses, the kids, your relationships, finances, and so on. Mindfulness gives you the opportunity to take a pause from all the craziness and just be present in the here and now.
I know for most people, when we talk about mindfulness, we might think of it as a daunting task or something that requires a lot of skill in order to practice. You might see it as needing to be in a dark room with candles, pillows and your entire mind needs to be blank and still. That sounds pretty intimidating, right? Personally, for me, it’s pretty impossible. I’ve tried to do this and ended up not being able to completely quiet my mind, which is okay. That is one form of mindfulness that could work for you or it could not.
What is the easier way? I want to share with you three really practical ways that we can incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. Mindfulness exercises that can be practiced basically anywhere.
When I practice mindfulness this way I don’t use headphones to listen to music or podcasts. I just get out there and become aware of my surroundings. I pay a lot of attention to the things around me and I do not just notice them but I become aware of them and all the things I can feel, hear, smell, etc. about them.
For example, if I see a tree; I notice the colours of the tree, I notice the flowers on the tree, how those flowers smell if the wind is moving the tree leaves, what that wind rustling the leaves sounds like. And as I noticed and become aware of these things I start to become aware of other things like my breathing, how it feels to breathe, whether or not I am hot or cold and what the sun feels like on my skin. All of those things are what mindfulness is about, becoming fully aware and in the moment of what you are doing.
If you are anything like me, you probably cook every day for your family and for yourself. And because I cook every day this gives me the opportunity to practice mindfulness every day for at least half an hour. When I start to cut the vegetables I pay attention to what I am doing – what does chopping vegetables sound like and what colours are the vegetables I am chopping. Maybe I’ll pop one of the vegetables into my mouth and pay attention to the texture of the vegetable, the sound it makes when I chew, and what it tastes like. When the pan is heated up I pay attention to the sizzling sound the food makes when it hits the pan, that sort of thing. It’s just about being aware of what is happening around you.
Breathing doesn’t have to be anything more than that. You just focus on the inhale and the exhale. What does it feel like? Follow the breath through your nose and into your body. Notice how your belly rises, how your belly fills up with air, and then how it feels as you exhale. If you have little ones with you, you can practice mindful breathing together too – check out this mindful breathing exercise here.
Those are just three super practical ways to practice mindfulness throughout your day. Once you’ve done some of them for a few days and you’ve become used to practicing them on a daily basis you can take it one step further. You can start becoming more aware of yourself and your thoughts. It’s not about trying to change your thoughts or trying to fight or understand them. It’s about becoming aware of them, letting them happen and just being aware that they are there. Becoming aware of our thoughts can highlight how busy our minds really are and it’s a reminder of why practicing mindfulness is so important.
I hope this was helpful, and I hope you can take some time throughout your day to pause and focus in on the world around you.