What Is Mindfulness?
We live in a crazy world where our attention is often pulled in several directions at once. This can make it difficult for your mind to fully appreciate and attend to what is happening, which can diminish your ability to focus on one matter at a time.
Mindfulness exercises are designed to counteract this constant pull on our attention. By practicing mindfulness, you focus on being fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing without being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
When people hear “mindfulness,” they often think about spending hours meditating. Your day-to-day activities can give you simple opportunities to practice mindfulness. Try out these four easy and quick mindfulness practices to breathe space into your daily routines.
1. Wake Up With Intent
Before checking your email or catching up on social media, sit up in a relaxed posture in your bed. Close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations of your body.
As you settle in, take three deep breaths by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Allow yourself to settle into a rhythm of breathing, following your breath as it moves in and out of your body, taking care to notice the intricacies of the rise and fall of your body as you breathe.
Take this time to set your intention for the day and check in with yourself as it goes on by pausing, taking a breath and revisiting it occasionally.
2. Eat Mindfully
We often move from one task to another without taking a beat to appreciate the transition. Take eight to 10 breaths before eating to bring a calmer transition to your meal.
By taking the time to tune into what your body really needs, you can better experience the taste, flavors, textures and enjoyment you get from your food. You will also be aware of when you eat enough to feel satisfied rather than stuffed.
3. Take a Break
Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed, allow yourself to take a step back to collect your thoughts. Find a quiet place to sit down and give yourself a time limit, such as five or 10 minutes.
When you’re settled, scan your body and notice any sensations you feel from your breath to your toes. If your mind wanders, acknowledge it and take your time returning your attention to your breath. Don’t obsess over the thoughts that run through your mind, just bring yourself back to your breath.
4. Observe the World Around You
There’s a lot of beauty in everyday things but often, many of us are too busy to notice it. Try taking a few moments to observe the world around you by focusing on a natural object in your immediate environment.
Simply relax into watching the thing for as long as your concentration allows and look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Allow yourself to connect with its energy and its purpose within the world.
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