5 Steps to a More Mindful Life

Mindfulness, Alicia Gillett

Author: Alicia Gillett, MSW, RSW

 

Do you find that you get stuck living your life on auto-pilot or do you notice your mind getting wrapped up with thoughts about the past or concerns about the future? Mindfulness can be the answer to living a more present and peaceful life even amidst the fast paced world that we live in.

Consider trying out the following ideas in order to embrace the moment and feel more relaxed and connected to the here and now.

Practice observing your experiences, thoughts and feelings non-judgementally. We often have opinions about our internal and external world and experiences. We label things as positive or negative which often causes us to zone in on the unpleasant and least desirable thoughts/feelings. Try noticing and acknowledging your thoughts and feelings as neither good nor bad but neutral. This can stop us from getting swept away in a negative spiral. Pretend your thoughts and feelings are like clouds floating by in the sky or subtitles scrolling on the TV.

Take a minute or five to tune into your breathing. Notice the way the air feels as it crosses through your nostrils, how the air feels as it passes through your throat, how your chest rises and falls and how the air passes back out through your mouth. This simple practice can give you a quick brain break and allow you to tune into your body.

Practice acceptance. We are all faced with disappointments and frustrations but it is our reactions and desire to change the circumstances that create the most suffering. Working on being accepting and not fighting against the things that come our way can reduce distress and help us to live a more relaxed existence.

Practice eating mindfully. When you sit down to eat, take this time to notice how all of your senses experience your food. What does it look like, smell like, feel like on your tongue/teeth or as it passes down your throat. This practice can even help you to control your intake of food and recognize when you’ve had enough to eat!

Exercise with awareness. Whether you enjoy going for a walk, taking an intense workout class or doing a yoga practice, this is a great time to tune into all that your body is doing in the moment. Tune into feeling your body temperature increase, your heart pumping strong, sweat dripping from your brow, your feet pounding the pavement or your feet firm on your yoga mat.

 

We all deserve to live a more peaceful and present life so take some time and give these ideas a try. You won’t regret it!

 

Happy Mindful Living!

 

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