Show Up for Yourself throughout the Day with these 5 Simple Mindfulness Practices
It helps to reduce tension, improves focus and clarity and promotes happiness. Find the time for mindfulness practices can be even overwhelming. Making the time in our daily lives that runs 100 mile per hour, you can still schedule and appreciate the present moment, even though we do not have time for this.
In this article you will discover how to bring awareness into things you are already doing, without feeling overwhelmed about making additional time in your day to practice mindfulness.
Mindful Wakeup: Start with a Purpose
Intention refers to the underlying motivation for everything we think, say, or do.
Setting an intention, keeping those postive motivations in mind, can help strengthen this connection between the lower and higher centers. By doing this it can change your day, making it more likely that your words, actions and responses especially during difficult moments, will be more mindful.
Practicing this first thing in the morning, before checking phones or email is best.
1. When you wake up, sit in your bed or a chair in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body and make sure your spine is straight.
2. Take three long, deep, breaths; breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.
3. Then ask yourself, “What is my intention for today?” Use these prompts to help answer that question, as you think about the people and activities you will face. Ask yourself:
How might I show up today to have the best impact?
What quality of mind do I want to strengthen and develop?
What do I need to take better care of myself?
How might I feel more connected and fulfilled?
4. Set your intention for the day.
5. Throughout the day, check in with yourself. Take a break, breathe, and revisit your intention. You will notice and become aware of your intentions for each day and how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts.
Mindful Eating: Enjoy Every Mouthful
Eating is one of the most pleasurable experiences we engage in as human beings, and by doing it mindfully it can turn eating into a great experience, satisfying not just the need for nutrition, but more subtle senses and needs.
1. Breathe before eating. We often move from one task right to the other without pausing or taking a breath. We need take a moment to slow down and allow a calm transition to our meals. Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly in and out of your belly for ten deep breaths before you start your meal.
2. Listen to your body. After breathing, bring your awareness to the physical sensations in your belly. Ask yourself: “How hungry am I?” What physical sensations tell you that you are hungry or not hungry? Try not to think about the last time you ate and listen to your body, not your thoughts.
3. Eat according to your hunger. Now that you are more in touch with how hungry you are, you can more mindfully choose what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.
4. Practice peaceful eating. Slow down on your next meal and continue to breathe deeply as you eat. You want to be relaxed to be able to savor your food and to easily digest.
5. If you do not like it, do not eat it. Take your first three bites mindfully, experience the taste, flavors, textures, and how much enjoyment you are receiving from the meal. Always make a mindful choice about what to eat based on what you really want to enjoy.
Mindful Pause: Rewire Your Brain
Our brain never stops thinking. It is not easy to do and tell the brain we are going to slow down today. However, there are two ways to do that: first, slowing down the fast brain by putting obstacles in its way; second, removing obstacles in the path of the slow brain, so it can gain control. Shifting the balance to give your slow brain more power takes some work, though. Here are some tips.
1. Place it where you can see it. If you will be doing a yoga session or meditation, put your yoga mat the middle of your floor so you will not miss it as you walk by.
2. Refresh your triggers regularly. Sticky notes help you to remind yourself of a new intention. That might work for about a week but then your fast brain and old habits take over again. Write new notes to yourself and add stickers, draw funny faces or whatever it might be to keep in in your brain longer.
3. Create new patterns. You can try: “If this, then that” messages to create easy reminders to shift into slow brain. Example, when you go into the office, take a deep breath as a way to shift into mindfulness as you are about to start your workday. Or, when the phone rings, take a breath before answering. Each intentional action to shift into mindfulness will strengthen your slow brain.
Mindful Workout: Activate Your Mind and Your Muscles
Exercising can be a mindfulness practice. Whatever the physical activity is, it helps shift you from feeling busy and distracted to feeling strong and capable.
The following steps, good for any activity, will help you synchronize body, mind, and nervous system.
1. Be clear about your aim. As you get ready for your activity by consciously envisioning how you want your guide your session. As you climb on your bike you might say, “I am going to breathe deeply and notice the sensation of the breeze and the sun and the passing scenery.”
2. Warm up (5 minutes). Try simple moves such as jumping jacks and stretching and concentrate on matching the rhythm of your breath to your movement. By moving rhythmically, your brain activity, heart rate, and nervous system begin to align and stabilize.
3. Settle into a rhythm (10 to 15 minutes). Pick up the intensity but continue to coordinate your breath and movement. If you have trouble doing this, then simply focus on your breathing for a few minutes.
4. Challenge yourself (10 to 15 minutes). Try faster speed, more repetitions, or heavier weights, depending on what you are doing. Notice how alert and alive you feel when pushing yourself.
5. Cool down (5 minutes). Steadily slow down your pace until you come to a standstill. Notice the way your body feels.
6. Rest (5 minutes). Quietly recognize the symphony of sensations flowing in and around you. You will feel awake and alive from head to toe.
Mindful Driving: Drive Yourself Calm, Not Crazy
There is nothing like heavy traffic and impatient drivers to trigger the “fight or flight” response. That is why road rage erupts and tension levels rise.
Here are the simple steps to a behind the wheel practice I have been doing for a while.
1. First, take a deep breath. This simple, advice helps bring more oxygen into your body and widens the space between the stimulus of the traffic and your heightened tension reaction. In this space lies perspective and choice.
2. Ask yourself what you need. It may be in that moment that you need to feel safe, at ease or you just need some relief. Understanding what you need will bring balance.
3. Give yourself what you need. If ease is what you need, you can scan your body for any tension and soften any tension or adjust your body as needed. You can listen to music or a podcast.
4. Look around and recognize that all the other drivers are just like you. Everyone on the road wants the same thing you do to feel safe, have a sense of ease, and to be happy. You will notice several drivers who are aggresive, look annoyed but you might also see the ones who are singing or smiling, and this will dissipate some of your own tensions.
5. Take another deep breath. In 15 seconds or less, you can turn around your mood by applying these simple tips. When you feel the frustration of traffic rising, choose whatever you need to work on. Breathe in, breathe out, you have sowed a seed of happiness.