If the term “mindfulness” evokes emotions ranging from curiosity to absolute cringe, you are not alone! Its been a trend for some time and there are countless articles, infographics, and books written about how to add more mindful moments to one's life. We may think of mindfulness as a total clearing of the mind - a zen state of being that seems impossible to achieve. While being mindful can involve clearing the mind, it may be more helpful to think of mindfulness as the conscious habit of being able to choose what is on your mind.
For many of us, days are filled with a million to-do lists, errands to run, and never ending thoughts popping into our heads distracting us from the present moment. It may even be uncomfortable to think about connecting more with the here and now.
Choice can be scary, but it can also be empowering to develop the skill of conscious awareness. Often our ‘choice’ of thought can feel like its been hijacked- forcibly taken from us by the problems of the day. Mindfulness can be a way back to ourselves. Think back to childhood- noticing the bark on a tree or a blade of grass. The reason these things were so much more noticeable than was because they were new! There was less ‘noise’ around us and that ability to be present was just simply easier to achieve.
Whether you have 30 seconds or thirty minutes, there are simple and effective ways to gain more control over your thoughts and increase how mindful you are. One easy way to start is with the next food or drink you enjoy. Got an orange? Try touching the skin of the orange, notice the dimples and texture. Break into it- watch for the squirt of juice and inhale deep. Notice the scent.
This practice may seem TOO simple to some, but ultimately you were able to take the brief moment to exercise choice and intention. Increasing this practice- simply noticing things related to your senses (think smell, touch, taste, sound, and sight) has proven health and wellness benefits. Whether you’re looking to feel empowered, de-stress, lower blood pressure or achieve other health side effects, practicing simple moments of mindfulness during the parts of your day that have become routine can help give you a boost along the way.
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