We have all heard of all of the benefits of practicing mindfulness and meditation regularly. The practice of mindfulness is said to reduce negative thinking and stress, improve memory and focus, and help you become less emotionally reactive. However, people are often under the misconception that in order to practice mindfulness they need to have a lot of time set aside and often picture themselves sitting in a dark room with their eyes closed, in silence, meditating. There are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness that require just a few minutes of your time.
Guided meditation is one of the most popular ways to practice mindfulness. The nice thing about this method is that you can choose to do it for 10 minutes, or you can choose to practice it for an hour. Guided meditations are very flexible with time and can be found to fit anyone’s needs. The idea of a guided meditation is to follow along to someone’s voice as they train you in breathing and becoming more aware of all that is happening around you and within your own body. This practice can make you feel more calm and grounded.
There are plenty of apps that use guided meditations so you can download them right on your phone and have them available at your fingertips whenever you feel the need to practice it. Some of the most popular ones include; Headspace, Calm, Mindfulness I and Mindfulness II, Mindfulness Daily, etc. Another place people often find ones specific to their needs is YouTube. You can listen to guided mediations specific to whatever issues you are dealing with. They have ones especially designed for sleep issues, anxiety, depression, letting go of emotional suffering, and whatever else you might be struggling with.
Connecting With Your Senses
Another very simple way to practice mindfulness is by utilizing all five of your senses. One of the benefits of this is that you can practice it pretty much at any time. Take some time to yourself and make yourself comfortable. First start off by listing all of the things that you see. Next, all of the things that you hear. Then, all of the things that you can feel, smell, and taste. Using all five of your senses can help make you feel more grounded and more part of the moment.
The benefit of this method is that it can be used whenever you want, for as long as you want. It is something you can practice for 10 minutes while you are sitting at work and need a break. It is something you can practice for 30 minutes as you are walking home from work. Whatever your environment may be, there is always a way to add some mindfulness into the mix.
Focus on Your Breathing
Something as simple as paying attention to your breathing can be considered practicing mindfulness. Taking a few minutes to practice taking some slow, deep breaths can take your mind off all of your spiraling thoughts and focus on your body. It allows for you to be more in the moment and slows you down. While focusing on your breathing, it can be helpful to pay attention to what your body does as you breathe. Pay attention to each breath as it is entering and leaving the body. This simple practice can leave you feeling more centered and calm.
Bianca Marcu, MA, LPC