Mindfulness is an easy, inexpensive, wonderful way to support your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. What is mindfulness? Try this: Think of your favorite restaurant. Now imagine standing in front of the building just before you open the door. Okay imagine yourself opening the door. You would be able to describe probably in great detail exactly what would be seen inside the door. Notice what you feel like stepping into your favorite restaurant.
There you go! You have just engaged in a mindfulness moment. You brought your attention into the moment, created a space where you were focused and you were aware of your thoughts, feelings and maybe even a bodily sensation of being hungry.
Practicing maintaining an “in the moment awareness” of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment is mindfulness. This practice can be very relaxing, centering and renewing. Key to mindfulness creating this positive internal environment involves acceptance; meaning that the goal is to pay attention to thoughts and feelings without judging them or believing that there is a “right or wrong” way of thinking and feeling in any given moment.
A mindfulness practice can start with simply sitting down, relaxing and breathing deeply. This simple action helps center the mind and bring our thoughts into the present moment. Close your eyes and take notice of your breath – breathing in and out. After a few minutes, move your attention to your body. Start at the top of your head and move your way down one part at a time, noting any sensations like warmth stiffness or tingling. Just notice each aspect of the body.
Now take a moment to notice what part of your body feels the most relaxed. It could be your ear, your pinky finger, your chest or your toe. Whatever part feels relaxed let your awareness go there. Spend a few moments noticing the calm then imagine that calm as something with dimension…such as a color. Let this part of your body slowly share its color (relaxation) with the rest of your body. When your entire body is this color observe what your body feels like.
The more you practice such simple mindfulness exercises, the calmer your disposition will become in everyday life. You will experience less distraction, less stress, less frustration and less anxiety.