mental health Mondays

Last week, we discussed the different between meditation and mindfulness. Let’s talk about how to actually act mindfully.

The idea is not to empty your mind while you are practicing, it’s to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise, so that you can observe them with kindness and without judgment (“Getting Started with Mindfulness”).

The goal is to learn how to live in the moment, so mindfulness can be practiced throughout the day as you carry out your day-to-day life. I’ve listed a few examples that come to mind:

(Try not to multitask as you’re doing this, such as checking emails, talking, texting, ect.)

  • Sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea:
    • Take a nice calming breath.
    • As you sip, enjoy the smell and flavors of your drink.
    • Notice the way it makes you feel.
    • Observe your thoughts with kindness and just let them float away. 
    • Savor the moment before you rejoin your day.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
  • Take a break from studying/working and walk, even if it’s for 5 minutes. 
    • Walk around your yard or house.
    • As you walk focus on calming your breath as you inhale and exhale.
    • Be conscious of what your body is doing and how it feels as you’re moving.  
    • Experience the sensation of how good it feels to unwind.  
    • Notice your surroundings and listen to the sounds as you walk by. 
    • Pay attention to the little things.
    • Just let your thoughts come and go as you relax. 
  • Listen to some music (instrumental usually works best, so that the lyrics don’t detract you).
    • Take some calming breaths and relax.
    • Observe how the music makes you feel.
    • See if you can note the different instruments that are playing.
    • Just be in the moment and enjoy the calming effect of how the music feels.  
Photo by Jusdevoyage on Unsplash

*NOTE: during any of the exercises feelings and thoughts may arise, just remember to let them come and breath through them, remembering to observe them with kindness and without judgement as you let them fade away. 

These are just some of the ways you can practice mindfulness. Try practicing while doing some of your favorite things, be creative.  As you start to practice mindfulness, it will become easier and easier to do, freeing yourself of the worries of tomorrow and “what ifs” of the pass, so that you can live in the present moment and begin to enjoy the little things in life.

Works Cited:

“Getting Started with Mindfulness.” Mindful, 2021, https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

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