Some easy ways to practice mindfulness:
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, on purpose, and without judgment, to your feelings, thoughts and body sensations, even if they’re not how you want to feel or be…
In that definition mindfulness sounds pretty simple and you might even wonder why it’s useful at all. It’s helpful because it helps us to have a little space or breathing room from our constant flurry of thoughts, and to choose how we want to respond to something that bugs us or upsets us, rather than simply reacting in our usual mindless ways.
Mindfulness helps us to know ourselves better, be more aware of how we show up, and have choice about how we interact with others. Mindfulness slows us down, gives us other options than to fight/ flight in relation to stress. It allows us connection with our inner voice; gives us a way to ground ourselves, listen more deeply, focus better.
With Mindfulness we can manage our emotions and not succumb to them managing us. When things get heated, we can calm down. When we get anxious or depressed, we can contribute to our own feeling better. Mindfulness brightens our perspective, softens our hearts, lets us experience more joy, fulfillment.
When we observe (ourselves) we can see what’s driving us to show up in different ways. And we can be more understanding of how others are showing up. Mindfulness doesn’t make all of the world’s problems go away, but it gives us a wider, more stable paddleboard to ride the ocean of waves of disruption with. Mindfulness helps us to not be so easily overwhelmed or drowned by these waves of change and hardship upon us.
Some simple ways to bring more mindfulness into your life include:
- Naming what you feel lowers the intensity of the stress reaction you’re having… Try: “fear is here“, “sadness is here“…, Etc.
- Use self compassion when you’re experiencing hard uncomfortable feelings (like the ones you just named above). Try: “This is a moment of suffering. I am not alone.“ “My feelings are not bad. Nor do they define me.“
- Focus on one thing: your breath, the soles of your feet on the ground, the air on your skin, the sounds you hear, an object in front of you, the leaves moving in the breeze; for as long as you can. When your mind/attention wander, gently come back to your anchor.
- Watch and count your breaths to 5 or 10 or 25. Every time you lose track, start again
- Notice where you’re feeling your feelings in the body.
- Unplug from your devices, social media, the news. When you replug, notice how you feel.
- Notice your feelings about race, yours and others’. See if you feel any discomfort when you experience differences, or when you are the recipient of microaggressions. Where do those feelings show up in your body?
It’s the mindful things we can do in the moments we have that can help us to get through with more ease, more presence of mind and heart. The practice of being present to whatever we are thinking and feeling and sensing in our bodies, with acceptance and nonjudgement, is actually liberating to our souls and minds.
What have you noticed happens for you when you’re present to the moments at hand? Do share. I’d love to know.
Also, please check out my upcoming “DeStress with your Breath Guide”, particularly for Women of Color, with different kinds of breath practices for the different stresses you may encounter in this upside-down pandemic filled world. It’s FREE and sure to help bring some ease to your days. Remembering to breathe is an important aspect of mindfulness, so you don’t want to miss this. Coming soon.