Mindfulness is the exercise of becoming more aware of your body, thoughts, and surroundings. It allows you to become self-aware and understand your position in your surroundings, and helps you to be more present – thus achieving inner peace as you fully acknowledge the moment and your place in it.
It is also a practice, though, meaning it is something that you must actively work towards until it becomes automatic. The following activities can help you to integrate mindfulness into your life:
Taking up the act of meditation can seem daunting, as it’s something that some people dedicate their whole lives to perfecting. However, meditation can be integrated into even the busiest person’s life. It has so many benefits, and can help to mentally balance, focus, and relax you. While meditation is an ancient art, it doesn’t need to be complicated or confusing; apps like Headspace are making meditation simple. Headspace will talk you through your meditation, set goals for you, and keep you on track through your journey to mindfulness.
Meditation is all about achieving mindfulness of your body and surroundings, acknowledging them, and coming to peace with them. By meditating, you can become a lot more in tune with yourself and the world around you. You can carry this lesson of mindfulness to other aspects of your life; just like how you acknowledge and accept any bodily discomforts while meditating, you can also do so during a stressful day. This will help put you on the path to mindfulness in your everyday life.
If sitting quietly isn’t your style, then yoga may be the answer. Yoga takes the benefits of meditation and puts a physical spin on them. In addition to becoming more in tune with yourself, you give back to your body by exercising it, along with a whole other host of health benefits. Yoga will strengthen your mental and physical ties, as it’s built on the foundation of the union between the mind and body. By aligning your head and your body, you can achieve greater mindfulness overall.
However, it can be hard to motivate yourself or inconvenient to go to a yoga class. If this is the case, then it’s easy to practice yoga from home as well. YouTube has a great collection of yoga classes for all types of people, whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert yogi, and whether you have ten minutes or an hour. Taking up yoga and achieving greater mindfulness can be just as easy as clicking on a video.
It’s no secret: surrounding yourself with nature can have incredibly relaxing effects. The tranquility of nature has always helped humans to heal. Recent studies show that gardening is a great stress reliever, which will help provide you with mental clarity while saving your body from the painful effects of stress. By gardening, you are putting yourself in touch with nature, which strengthens your awareness of the natural world and your ties to it. Through gardening, you can better understand your relationship with the natural world, while cultivating and contributing to it.
Food gardening can provide you with fresh, healthy produce that decreases your carbon footprint. Additionally, any surplus produce can be donated to local food banks, which allows you to contribute to your community as well. You can also look into your community’s communal gardening initiatives. These programs are great for exercising mindfulness—you can interact with other passionate people, give back to your community by beautifying it, and conserve resources all while reaping the mental benefits of gardening. If you don’t have a green thumb, an easy place to start is taking care of succulents. They are low-maintenance plants that can thrive indoors, making them great for beginner gardeners or those who don’t have access to outdoor space (Succulents and Sunshine). Taking care of plants inside can bring the natural world’s tranquility into your home.
Meditation can promote creative thinking, but creating thinking is a great way to work towards mindfulness and is almost a form of meditation in itself. By participating in challenging creative work, your mind is completely focused, bringing you to a state of heightened awareness and consciousness. By completely focusing on creating something, you are channeling your energy in a positive and constructive manner. This allows your mind to become doubly aware as it works creatively on the task at hand.
Your creation doesn’t need to be a masterpiece. It can be as simple as doodling on a piece of paper, or it can be something less artsy, like baking or singing along to a favorite song. All that is important is that you are taking the moment to put your mental and physical energy towards something that forces you to focus and flex your creative muscles. Creativity, by forcing you to express yourself, also teaches you to put faith in what you’re doing. This can help you to better understand yourself, an important pillar of mindfulness.
IMMERSING YOURSELF IN THE MOMENT
We are often distracted—by our phones, by other people, by our thoughts. Next time you are performing a simple duty—like eating breakfast or brushing your teeth—make a commitment to be all there. Put away your phone, turn off your TV or music, and truly appreciate just being there in the moment. By completely immersing yourself, you can pay attention to every detail of the activity. This allows you to explore new experiences and sensations while performing what is otherwise a menial, mindless task. Putting your mind back into every action is the idea of mindfulness—the first place to start is with those acts that you otherwise overlook. Plus, by treating something that can be a chore, like washing dishes, as a mindfulness experiment, you may come to enjoy the task!
Mindfulness is a lifestyle that can only be achieved through practice. By applying mindfulness to your daily activities, and by taking up some of the ones listed above, you can work towards living more mindfully. This means a better sense of self and inner peace so you can ward off stress and keep your mind on track.