We do it all the time. Breath that is. Sounds easy enough, right? Here is a simple exercise to help you focus on being more mindful.
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nostrils and hold up to 5 seconds then exhale slowly through your mouth.
- Tune into your body and try to relax any tense areas. Keep practicing your breathing.
- Feel your chest rising and falling, the air passing through your body.
- Notice your mind if it wanders. It is normal to be distracted for those stray thoughts, but when you notice them, gently return your focus back to your breathing
- Breathe mindfully for a few minutes and gently return your focus back to your whole body, relaxing even deeper. When you are ready, open your eyes and take a moment to appreciate yourself for the quiet time.
To practice mindfulness you have to work on re-framing your thoughts. For example, when you are trying to work on meditation or breathing techniques, you may find that your mind wanders. So instead of thinking ” Whenever I mediate my mind wanders” think, “It’s OK that my mind wanders. I will just acknowledge those stray thoughts and bring my mind back to now.”
You can’t ignore the thoughts, but instead, revise them. Usually we find that when we are stressed or have anxiety, our bodies reflect that negativity. So revising will allow not only your mind to relax, but also your body. Think about what is going well right now and focus on the good. Tomorrow we will walk through one of many ways to add mindful breathing. Through mindful breathing and re-framing your thoughts, you will have a great start to adding mindfulness into your daily routine.
What is mindfulness? The easiest way to describe it, is that it is being aware in the here and now. It is awareness with no judgement. No good or bad. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. Mindfulness helps you to be more aware of your choices and progress towards your goals.
While mindfulness is instinctive, it can be accomplished while seated, walking, standing, lying down and short breaks we take in our daily activities. Combined with meditation, mindfulness can help you to manage stress, anxiety, sadness and more. Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash
What have you noticed lately that may be slipping from your grasp? Have you been so busy you’ve spent less time with your kids, friends, family than you are comfortable with? Are you working on a deadline and you’ve been cooped up in your office for weeks, with no free time?
It may not be that extreme, but chances are, there’s something out of line in your priorities that you’ve been hoping to change. What is that?
I tend to procrastinate which causes chaos and leaves me feeling out of control. I am working hard to find ways to organize and reduce the feeling of overwhelm that I endear because of it. There are many online apps that can be used for this. What is yours?
Now, about you. Let’s just start with that first thing that popped into your mind. The very first thing you thought of when you read this post.
How can you begin motion on changing that, starting tomorrow?
It doesn’t have to be some huge overhaul, which can feel very overwhelming. But what can you start to do to make some changes that will last?
Somewhere along the way, the need to spring clean was ingrained in us. After the hibernation of a frigid winter, we start fresh with a deep cleaning of our living space. Hopefully going deeper than that, also an adjustment of our routines, attitudes, schedule, relationships and more.
But I think to start that now before spring officially arrives has its benefits. We just started a new year, which inevitably brings new resolutions and new ideas of what you want your life to look like.
How is that going for you so far? What needs tweaking? Start with that, and you’ll be on a spree by the time spring arrives, where you can tackle the rest of your list it full force.
If we arrive in the spring with our failed resolutions still in tow, we will likely put off the spring cleaning as well. It doesn’t have to be that way, though, and your growing to-do list doesn’t have to feel like a failure. Start with jump-starting those resolutions you may have neglected from January and start a fresh track with one or two of those. Your confidence will compound, and you’ll be ready to tackle more in the coming weeks with that momentum.
What’s the first thing you want to change in your life?