How to develop mindfulness and what’s in it for you? This guide will clarify this for you and will support you learn, practice and expand.
Mindfulness is the state of being conscious of oneself and one’s surroundings.
It is what connects us to our inner self, our thoughts, emotions and sensations.
It is a set of skills and habits to learn, develop and practice every day.
It is what enables us to live our life to the fullest.
Do you want to improve any of these areas? Let’s get to the how.
Like in a movie, picture yourself in an environment around you where everything is paused, so you focus on the things and people as they are, rather than passing next to them without seeing them.
Lift your eyeline to look at the sky and notice what is happening above your head (clouds, colours, birds and planes passing by).
Put your phone or your laptop away. Remove your headphones. Put your thoughts on the side. Don’t do anything than enjoy the present moment
In conversations, notice how much you talk and how much you listen. To listen more, pay attention to the words people use, ask more questions, look at their body language.
Whenever possible, avoid multitasking. Take the decision to finish that thing you started before moving onto another one.
One of the biggest distractions we face are our phone notifications. Go to your phone settings to remove unnecessary notifications from apps you rarely use. For the others, you can put your phone on flight mode for a short while.
Don’t take on more than you can. Create awareness on what you need and want, and if something is going against that, gently push back on it.
You don’t have to meditate in the lotus position for an hour to reap the benefits of meditation. Simply close your eyes and count your breath to 10: 1 for inhale, 2 for exhale 3 for inhale, 4 for exhale, etc. Do this for a few minutes.
Combine counting the breath with the noting technique: whenever your mind drifts away from counting and starts thinking about something, simply note this thought, acknowledge it’s just a thought, and gently come back to counting. The more you do it, the more you’ll notice thoughts and emotions in your daily life.
Whenever you are lying down or sitting down in a quiet environment, bring your attention to the top of your head. Then slowly move to your face, then your neck, then your shoulders, up to your feet. Then do it on the opposite direction. At every step, ask yourself how it feels.
A simple way to meditate is to visualise yourself inhaling anything you want more of in your life – and exhaling what you don’t any anymore. It can be inhaling positivity and exhaling impatience. Or inhaling joy and exhaling frustration. Find what works for you in the moment, and do it for a few minutes at a time.
Get into the habit of stretching your body for a few minutes. Choose the moment of the day that works best for you:
If yoga is new to you, you can practice at home, on your own, by going on Youtube and looking for beginners videos. We highly recommend the Yoga with Adrienne channel which is full of positive energy.
Yoga is about flow. After doing a few videos, you’ll find a sequence that particularly speaks to you, that grounds you and that brings you joy. Learn it so you can do it spontaneously.
An intention is a theme, a common thread you want to live by during your day, your week or your year. While a goal is specific and narrow, you can find several activities and tasks that honour your intention.
Find a go-to phrase that you can repeat to yourself when you need to shift your focus away from a negative state. It can be a sentence you read somewhere, the lyrics of a song, something you heard on TV – anything that made you think for a moment.
It’s not just about being grateful, it’s about actively practicing gratitude. Every day take a moment to appreciate all that you have and the people around you who support you. Think about how you can give more to others so they are thankful too to have you in their life.
You can have a gratitude journal if you wish where you document what you are thankful for. You can use a journal for anything you want: for instance, to write down the things you do for yourself, or to keep track of new habits you want to have.
Pick one of these activities and practice until it becomes a habit.
Then add another one. And another one. Until you’ve built up mindful skills that feel natural to you.
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