Over the last 10 years or so mindfulness has become a mainstream practice of many instead of the unique practice of the spiritual or enlightened. Research has proven the physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Simply put, these can include improved focus, lower blood pressure and heartrate, stress reduction, emotion regulation, and more. When there is improvement in these areas it opens the door to work on other things, such as relationships, schoolwork, patterns of thinking, and self-improvement. The researched benefits of daily mindfulness practice are abundant and inspiring. Yet most of us have difficulty doing so. Time, lack of ideas, and a misunderstanding of what mindfulness practice entails all get in the way. I want to offer the idea that we frequently engage in activities of mindfulness without even realizing it and could do it more often or thoroughly with a little adjustment. Here I provide three creative ways to squeeze in some daily mindfulness to reap the benefits.
1) Set an intention or goal for the day to notice something specific and quantify it. Go out of your way to look for it. For example, watch for three acts of kindness or two sayings you read somewhere that make you laugh just a little. Aim to find your absolute favorite color 10 times today. Smile at five strangers in passing and see how many smile back. Just aiming to “take more in” or “notice things more” is too broad. Be specific and thoughtful on what you will watch for and make it happen.
2) Find a new piece of music or song that speaks to you. Carve out 10 minutes to flip through the radio or streaming service listening only for a song you don’t know and find one that speaks to you. Then take a mental note of why it speaks to you, how does it make you feel, what does it remind you of. For an added bonus: write these down and come back to them in a few days to reflect and enjoy again.
3) At the end of the day, take a few moments to give yourself a little credit. We often spend time fretting over what we couldn’t get done before laying down for the night. Instead, spend that time being mindful of what was accomplished. Give yourself credit for finishing that big project at work, watering the garden, making dinner, connecting with a friend and nurturing that relationship, drinking enough water and staying hydrated on a hot day…whatever it is, you deserve to acknowledge it. Again, for an added bonus: write it down. There is power in writing and reflecting.
If interested in beginning your mindfulness practice and improving your mental health, please contact us at https://anewapproach-counseling.com/contact/