Mindfulness Day: 3 easy ways to practise mindfulness every day
'Mindfulness' has really become one of those buzzwords we see everywhere lately.
And today is, in fact, World Mindfulness Day.
But what is 'mindfulness' really – and – more importantly – why do we need it and how can it help us?
To put it simply – mindfulness is the practice of the mind and body becoming more present to the here and now. In other words, feeling like you are aware of the exact moment you are living right now, and being fully in tune with the present.
Many people use the words 'mindfulness' and 'meditation' interchangeably, but while the two are often linked, you don't have to meditate or practise meditation to practise mindfulness. In fact, any action or activity that really roots you to the present moment and brings you a sensation of peace is an act of mindfulness.
For me, yoga brings me mindfulness. As I have to concentrate so hard on continuing to breathe while keeping the pose, I find that I am momentarily completely in the present. There is no room for thinking about other things, worrying about tomorrow or longing for what has been – yoga requires me to be fully there, in my body, in the moment – and maybe that is precisely why I love it so much.
Swimming in the sea is another one. Dipping into the cold water of the Irish sea, be it in January or June, concentrating to steady my breath and stay in the water, I am fully there, in my body, in the moment. And it gives me a feeling of peace and calm that very few – if any – other activities give me.
And I am obsessed with it. And feel like it has benefitted me in so many ways.
This will come as no shock to people who have also seen the benefits of learning to stay present in the moment.
In fact, practising mindfulness can have some really remarkable benefits. For instance, if you are struggling with stress or a sense of being overwhelmed, mindfulness can help. The same goes if you are suffering with depression or any other mood disorders. Mindfulness can also help if you have trouble concentrating, trouble motivating yourself or if you are feeling other negative emotions.
In other words, mindfulness and learning how to do this every day, can be extremely helpful for all of us. And the best news? It is free – and can be incorporated into your day so, so easily.
Even better news? You'll start feeling the benefits straight away.
How do I practice mindfulness?
Let's clear one thing up – there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness – it's not a 'one size fits all' situation. Just as we are all different, different activities will feel mindful to each of us. While some practice mindfulness by going for a walk in nature, others might prefer to do so while strolling busy city streets or watching the world go by from their favourite streetside cafe.
What we do know, however, is that'5 to 10 minutes seem to be the magic number when it comes to mindfulness. And we can all spare 15-20 minutes in our day. If you do want to start implementing some mindfulness into your days, here are just five simple tricks to try right now.
- Sit – or lay down – still and simply focus on your breathing as a mindfulness exercise. Get comfortable and try breathing in through your nose and out of your mouth, becoming aware of the tides of your breath.
- Do a full-body scan. Lie comfortably on your back and focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body. Start with your toes and work your way up to your head. Make yourself familiar with your body and how it is feeling. Be aware of each sensation you feel in your body. Allow yourself to sink into the floor or ground, just for a few moments, and just breathe.
- Practice mindfulness while walking by yourself. Resist the temptation of music or a podcast in your ears. Instead, focus on the experience of walking by being aware of your surroundings and the sensations you feel throughout the walk.