Mindfulness is being recognized for the many health and well-being benefits it provides.
Less stress and anxiety. Reduced pain. Increased happiness, and self-acceptance. Mindfulness can even be applied to support your healthy weight loss goals…
Are you intrigued? Sounds promising, right?
But do find that when you think of approaching this thing called “mindfulness” it seems foreign, mysterious and out of reach? Does it sound like a lot of work?
Mindful living does not require a trip to a far off cave with a mystic monk to meditate for thirty days!
To be mindful is to focus awareness on the present moment.
It’s really that simple.
There are many ways to start practicing mindfulness in your life. Some will resonate with you more than others.
We encourage you to approach mindfulness as a playful exploration…
In fact, we’ve assembled a list of eleven easy to implement practices that will bring peace and happiness into your life. No training required–just action.
1. Breathe deeply
Take a long deep inhalation. Seriously, right now just let yourself take a long slow breath in, then slowly let it go. This simple act leads to peace and well-being. Breathing is healthy. It reduces stress, it’s good for your heart, your brain, and your mood. Breathing offers space allowing you to access action over reaction. Set a recurring alert on your device for several times throughout the day as a reminder to pause, and breathe.
2. Smile generously
It’s true, smiling helps release tension, decrease stress, and can lead you to a better mood. Smiling is contagious, and it’s free. Practice smiling. When you head out for the day set an intention to smile freely. You will create a ripple, smiling is contagious. And, as you give a smile chances are you will receive a smile in return!
3. Let go
Holding on tight… we all do it. It’s a survival tactic that turns into habit. When you feel an old grudge, a wave of stress, memory of a family feud, or a hurt feeling bubble up… pause. Take a breath. Acknowledge the sensations of that feeling, and the story that goes with it. Send it a little love, and then gently let it go.
4. Choose kindness
Just do it. Be friendly and considerate. Say hello to passers by. Open the door for someone. Breathe instead of honking your car’s horn when you’re frustrated. It’s the right thing to do if you want peace in your life, and in our world.
Life can get pretty serious. Break it up with laughter. Give yourself and those around you the gift of levity, and lightheartedness. Make it okay to laugh. Even better: make it your trademark. Let yourself laugh when you make an innocent mistake. Laugh to get oxygen to your lungs and brain. Let fun be part of your life everyday.
6. Keep moving
Stop, stand up, and stretch. Go for a walk around the block. Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator when you can. Hop on your bike to run that errand. Moving keeps you awake, it gets your blood moving, and delivers oxygen to your brain. As you move, pay attention. Notice how your body feels, where your thoughts flow, the pace of your breathing. Just keep moving…
7. Enjoy quiet time
Taking a break at work? Getting ready to wind down at the end of the day? Instead of picking up that electronic device, choose a quiet activity. Keep it simple. Find a comfortable spot to relax. Light a candle and watch the warmth of the flame, maybe even write in a journal as you reflect on your day. Find peace in the present moment, quietly.
8. Spend time in nature
Whenever you can, step out of the hamster wheel of life, and be with nature. Your body and mind will react in ways that bring peace and a sense of calm. It can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. Drink that morning coffee in your front yard, step out on your break to look at the trees, make time to watch the sunset.
9. Give time
Chances are you have a to-do list, maybe a few… do they ever go away? Probably not. It might not feel like you have time to share. Yet, when you make time to help someone lift those heavy groceries into their car, or take a moment to listen to the story of another you create spaciousness. Choosing to connect with what is happening right in front of you is mindfulness. Share your time, share your attention… freely.
10. Find wonder
Make it a point to see with beginner’s eyes. View the world through the lens of wonder. Notice the color of the sky, appreciate the miracle of your body, allow raindrops to be a delight. Taking time to be with and celebrate the simple things in life is an awareness practice. It’s also your key to the fountain of youth!
11. Give thanks
Think of the things that are good in your life daily. This action harnesses your thoughts in ways that are proven to call in happiness, and well-being. Don’t over think it.. If you’re thankful for the tasty lunch you had, acknowledge that. Are you grateful to be alive? Is your clothing keeping you warm? Just get the ball rolling and before you know it the list will grow with ease and, it’ll be fun!
These mindfulness activities are easy, and free.
The trick is in taking action. It’s one thing to know the path, and another to walk it. So keep it simple, start with one… then try another until you find the mix that resonates with your point of view.
The results of daily mindful living are profound.
So why wait, activate the lighter brighter life you seek today!
WRITTEN BY Hanna Tate | CONTENT DEVELOPED & REVIEWED BY CURA Director of Nutrition-Christi Bowling, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD who is a Masters Level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 12 years of experience in corporate wellness, medical nutrition therapy and sports nutrition. She is certified in both Sports Dietetics, and Adult Weight Management.