Some Helpful Mindfulness Strategies
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves non-judgementally paying attention to what we are experiencing in the present moment. This might involve following our breath going in and out, listening to the sounds around us, or noticing our feet on the floor.
This sounds simple, but mindfulness is a powerful, evidence-based tool for enhancing psychological health. Neuroscientists have discovered that regular mindfulness practice literally changes the human brain!
Mindfulness grounds us in the here-and-now and enables us to detach from unhelpful thoughts, regulate distressing emotions, gain clarity and make proactive rather than reactive choices. Mindfulness is also great for increasing focus, concentration and self-compassion.
Simple ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life
Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Follow the rise and fall of your chest and belly, and the sensations of your breath coming in and out of your nose
Notice what you are doing in any given moment (eg. driving, walking, showering, washing dishes) and tune in to your 5 senses while you are engaging in that activity. Curiously observe what you can see, hear, feel, touch, smell and taste
When you are walking, try tuning in to how your weight shifts and the sensations in the bottom of your feet, rather just on where you are headed
Notice how the mind likes to judge and evaluate things as good, bad, right and wrong. See if you can focus on observing, rather than evaluating, what is happening in the present moment
Take note of where you thoughts are positioned in time – is your mind caught in the past, or the future? If so, non-judgmentally bring your attention back to what you are doing in the present moment
Recognise that thoughts are just thoughts. You don’t need to automatically pay attention to, believe or act on every thought that enters your mind
If you have a pet, spend a few minutes connecting with them, bringing awareness to your 5 senses (eg. the markings of their fur, the sound of their breath, the texture of their coat)
Purchase a mindful colouring book or download some free mindful colouring pages from the internet
Sit or walk outside and observe cloud formations, stars, trees or plants
Don’t feel that you have to fill every minute of the day with ‘doing’. Take some time to simply ‘be’