Too Busy for Mindfulness? That’s me. Or so I thought for quite a long time… And I rarely sit still for any length of time.
It turns out that practicing mindfulness does not have to be time consuming…or rigid or boring. It can be as simple as actively paying attention as you go about your day-to-day activities and it definitely does not have to be formal, lotus-posed, transcendental meditation. There are many ways to informally and BRIEFLY practice mindfulness and you don’t even have to remain still.
The key to mindfulness is having an attitude of curiosity and openness. It is an awareness of how we connect with the world using our five senses. It involves paying attention to our experiences in this moment, as opposed to being caught up in our thoughts. Even in the face of unpleasant, painful or difficult experiences, we can be open and curious.
Here are a few of my favourite and QUICK mindfulness practices:
“The Wonder of Breathing”
This is the cornerstone of mindfulness. To state the obvious, we’re always breathing. It keeps us alive. It reminds us that we’re alive!
Find a quiet spot (or don’t). Close your eyes gently or gaze softly at a spot near to you, looking at nothing in particular. Then, focus your attention on your breath. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. As you breathe in, say to yourself, “I’m breathing in”. Pay attention to the sensation of your breath passing into your body. As you breathe out, say to yourself, “I’m breathing out”. Be aware of the sensation of your breath leaving your body.
Is each breath the same as the last one, or different in duration, texture, and intensity? Notice whether your attention is on your breath or whether it has wandered to thoughts about other things. There’s no need to chase those thoughts or feelings away, notice that they are there and return your attention to your breath. Repeat six times. Or more if you have the time.
“Savour Your Coffee”
And a reason to pause and enjoy your favourite beverage.
Hold your cup of coffee of tea in both hands. Notice the weight, notice the heat on your hands and fingers. Be aware that you’re noticing. Bring your cup closer to your face and notice the aroma. Can you feel the heat? Next bring the cup closer to your mouth in anticipation of your first sip. After that, notice the movement in your body, hands and lips. Again, be aware that you’re noticing. Take a sip. Notice the temperature and taste. Before you swallow, notice the natural impulse to swallow. Notice the sensations of swallowing. It is normal for your attention to wander. When this happens gently guide your focus back to noticing your coffee and any sensations you experience.
“Find Your Inner Smile”
This is one of my favourites. I’m even smiling as I write this.
Firstly, take a few mindful breaths in and out. Then close your eyes and let a slight smile form on your lips. As you breathe in, send your smile along with your breath to spread throughout your body. Feel your breath fill the back of your throat, moving down your windpipe, into your chest, and down into your belly. As you breathe out, picture your smile moving outside of you. Imagine your smile floating through the air and touching everyone and everything you see. Repeat this for a few cycles of breathing.
If you would like to book an appointment with Tara or any of our other Psychologists, please feel free to contact us at Revive Health and Happiness.