how to practice mindfulness

The first time I heard of mindfulness, a nurse friend of mine spoke about it in fluid conversation like I had any idea what was going on.

After asking a few quick questions, the idea had formed in my mind that mindfulness is basically the act of meditating on the present moment.

Thoughts will come, thoughts will go, some will return, some will make a lot of noise in your head and refuse to leave for extended periods, but eventually, with training, practicing mindfulness can help you to recognise, accept, and release your thoughts [1] without the need for lengthy emotional responses that can clutter our outlook.

In essence, mindfulness can help us to become more connected to areas of our life that matter the most, whilst untethering doubts and worries along with all of the attached negative thoughts and feelings – and see medium chat for extra help with connecting to your feelings.

 

Sound good? OK. Let’s look at a few simple ways to practice mindfulness.

 

Start with your breath

 

I know, I know. Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to descend into some sort of ‘in through the nose, out through the mouth’ nonsense that goes unexplained and ultimately helps nobody along the way.

The reason that mindfulness begins with noticing your breathing is because our breath is the one thing that all of us can always feel and sense at all times – breath is always on the move, whether it’s incoming or outgoing, making it easier to focus on compared to something that is static and therefore harder to notice (such as a thought of a seascape or open field). Focus on your breath anywhere, any time of the day, and feel the worries of the day take a backseat, if only for a few moments.

 

Now focus on what you are doing

 Mindfulness needn’t end at your breathing. Your physical actions provide a canvas, too.

Feel the weight of your phone in your hand. Feel your body pressed against the chair that you’re sitting in. Sense the wind on your face as you walk.

If someone is speaking to you, listen to them with your undivided attention. Read their facial expressions. Their temperament. Notice their gestures and their tone. All of these things will help your mind to filter out negative thoughts about yourself and put you in a much better position to be a better you and a better companion.

 

Love to do something? OK. Let’s really take the brakes off…

 For some people, mindfulness isn’t all about the smooth transition of thoughts as they pass through our attention, as much as it is about achieving a level of calmness through losing yourself in a moment. Singing your favourite songs is a great way to focus on purely the one thing that you are doing at that moment in time. Drawing or colouring or doing any other form of art can likewise be another way to focus the mind. Whatever your favourite hobby, getting lost in it might be the best way for you to experience mindfulness.


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