Life can feel very hectic sometimes, but it is important to find time to pause for thought and enjoy the moment. The mindfulness movement encourages living in the present and taking the time to appreciate the world around you. Here are some tips you can implement in your day-to-day life to help you stay present.
Meditation is not as daunting an idea as it may seem – it doesn’t mean sitting for hours in silence with only your own thoughts as company. It’s all about getting back in touch with the body and finding the time to create calm and peace even if only for a short period. Breathing exercises are all that is needed to find this little bit of serenity. The 4-7-8 technique is a fantastic way to relax and slow down the pace for a moment. Simply inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. Focus on your breath and allow thoughts to come and go without interacting with them. Do this for as long as needed and as regularly as possible particularly during times of stress allowing yourself to unwind.
Creative outlets are a fantastic way to allow the mind a rest and to channel emotions into something positive. Drawing, writing, playing music, or trying a new sport all are great ways of putting your mind to something constructive and in turn, creating something that you can be proud of. The sense of achievement after completion can help to feel a sense of pride and self-worth.
Getting Back in Touch with Nature:
The science is clear on nature – it can have incredible impacts on health both mental and physical health. Reconnecting with nature can really help to be more present and in-the-moment, and is a big focus in mindfulness studies. This could be a trip to somewhere beautiful or just a walk around a local park or your garden. A simple exercise you can try is going outside and engaging all your senses with your surroundings. Think about what you can smell; is this a new or old smell? What does this remind you of? Think about what you can hear; how far away does it sound? Do you recognise the sound? How does this sound make you feel? This exercise is simple but effective as a grounding technique and bringing the mind back to the surroundings. You can spend as much or as little time as you need to complete this task and once you begin practising regularly you will begin doing it without realising.
The Body Scan:
Finally, there is the ‘body scan’ exercise. It is important to consider how your body is feeling daily so you can better understand how to care for it. All that is required is some peace and quiet and a little time. Get yourself in a comfortable position and imagine a scanner is working its way down your body. With every section it highlights, become aware of how this part of the body feels – is it sore? Where exactly is it hurting? Does it hurt less when you relax? Work your way down until you get to the feet where you will finish the exercise.
It is useful to check in every now and again with your body and your mind to make sure you are feeling well both physically and mentally. Whilst mindfulness may not seem like a huge concern in this day and age, it’s actually very important to keep on top of. You can practise these exercises as little or as often as you like but all will work to bring you closer to the present.