How to Start Practicing Mindfulness Anywhere
Mindfulness is about being more aware of the present moment. It means as you focus on the present, paying attention to your environment, thoughts, and feelings. You don’t have to stay in one room, close your eyes, and meditate to practice mindfulness. Instead, mindfulness involves daily practices that you can do anytime, anywhere.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness and slowing down your busy lifestyle, here are different ways you can practice mindfulness wherever you are.
How to Start Practicing Mindfulness Anywhere
Benefits Of Practicing Mindfulness
Jon Kabat-Zinn, often considered the leader of the mindfulness movement, defines mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Kabat-Zinn created the MBSR program, or the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, MBSR, is a mindfulness program that is now offered by various hospitals, medical centers, and health organizations. It is essentially mindfulness based cognitive therapy.
With so many medical professionals and health organizations recognizing the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy in conjunction with mindfulness, there is no denying the physical and psychological benefits of mindfulness. Those benefits include:
- Stress relief
- Improved memory
- Lowered blood pressure
- Better mental health
- Increased emotional regulation
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved mental clarity
All of which are benefits that can help improve the quality of life for people with autoimmune disease, like me.
How To Practice Mindfulness Anywhere
Gratitude is being thankful. But actually, practicing gratitude means more than just recognizing something you’re thankful for… at least in the sense of mindfulness.
When you first start practicing gratitude, you consciously draw your attention to what you are grateful for. Sort of like making a checklist in your head. But as you continue to practice gratitude, you start to subconsciously feel gratitude. So what’s the difference between the two?
In the beginning, it’s more about recognition. Then, with practice, it becomes more about the feeling of gratitude. It’s less of a conscious task and more of a subconscious habit. You become more easily able to identify the various things you have to feel grateful for, and in the end, you feel better about your quality of life overall. More habits to improve your life here.
Do A Full-Body Scan
Here’s another great way to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere. A full body scan is when you check in with yourself and focus on how each area of your body is feeling. For this mindfulness practice, all you need is a quiet area where you can relax and focus on yourself for just a few minutes.
For the scan, start with your toes and work your way upward. Focus on each part of your body and try to relax each area until your entire body feels less tense. You can do this as part of meditation or as a practice on its own.
Use All Five Senses
Using all five senses is a popular technique in mindfulness training. Here’s how it works:
- Look around you and find five things you can see.
- Tune into your sense of touch and notice four things you can feel.
- Listen carefully and recognize three things you can hear.
- Notice two things you can smell.
- Recognize one thing you can taste.
Focus On Your Breathing
There’s a legitimate mindfulness technique known as breathwork in which you use breathing exercises to help calm and center your mind. You can easily practice breathwork anywhere. Just take a few minutes, wherever you are, to bring attention to your breathing. Focus on each inhale and exhale. Try to let go of any other thoughts and focus solely on your breathing. If you find your mind wandering, simply refocus, recenter, and continue your breathwork.
How often do you truly enjoy a meal? As in, how often do you focus only on what you’re eating, how it tastes, and how it makes you feel? Chances are, it’s not very often. But that’s what mindful eating is all about.
Mindful eating is a great way to practice mindfulness. Try it whenever you have the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal by yourself. Rather than reaching for your phone or turning on the TV, sit with your meal in front of you and truly enjoy it. Take a deep breath and notice how it smells. Chew slowly and actually savor each bite. Notice the texture of the food in your mouth and how your fork feels in your hands.
Sure, it might feel weird at first. But it’s an easy way to regularly practice mindfulness and you just might be surprised by the positive effect it has on your emotional well-being. It can even help prevent overeating too.
Go For A Walk Outdoors
Taking a walk outside is not only good exercise that benefits your physical health, but it’s great for your mental health as well. That said, it’s easy to get caught up in your thoughts even when you’re going on a walk.
The next time you can spend some time outside, try walking meditation. Basically, rather than being absorbed in your thoughts as you walk, pay attention to your physical being and your environment. Doing so creates the mind-body connection that mindfulness is all about.
What does that mean exactly? As you take each step, notice how your feet lift off the ground and then come back down. Pay attention to how your legs move to lift your feet and how your arms sway by your sides. Notice your breathing and whether you are breathing heavier or faster than usual. If you find your thoughts wandering, bring them back to your movements.
Create A Journal
Journaling is a great way to work through your thoughts and feelings. With a journal, you have a private and safe way to reflect on things that happen and how you feel about them. Sometimes it can be difficult to process emotions until you are able to take a step back and look at them from a different perspective. Journaling is a great way to do just that.
There’s no wrong way to journal. You can write paragraphs in a notebook. You can doodle in a bullet journal. Or, you can put together pictures in a scrapbook and write about them in the space next to them. You can even write a single sentence every day just to share how you are feeling. It’s entirely up to you.
Download A Mindfulness App
These days there really is an app for everything. If you are hoping to make mindfulness part of your daily life, you will need to set aside time every day to practice it until it becomes more natural. There are plenty of online tools that make practicing mindfulness easier, whether you are a beginner or you’re more familiar with the practice.
Here are some of the best apps to help you practice mindfulness:
Practice Mindful Yoga
Practicing yoga is a fantastic way to reduce stress while also working on your physical health. Yoga is also an excellent exercise for mindfulness. As it turns out, you don’t even have to do anything different than your normal yoga routine to incorporate mindfulness into the practice. By focusing on your breathing and the present moment, as you already do during a yoga session, you’re practicing mindfulness.
Try Mindful Listening
Mindful listening is a mindfulness practice that allows you to be more present for others. It’s an easy way to improve your social relationships and creates an opportunity for both of you to benefit from your time with each other.
To practice mindful listening, ask open-ended questions to show that you are interested in what the person has to say. This will also keep the conversation going. And while the other person is talking, pay full attention to what they are saying rather than how you want to respond. Also, notice the person’s body language. Their body language will often tell you even more than their words will. And, of course, maintain eye contact.
With a bit of practice, anyone can incorporate mindfulness into their daily life.
Have you given mindfulness a try yet? Which mindfulness techniques work best for you? I’d love to hear how you practice mindfulness every day!
Share your thoughts with me! Then, head over to the blog for more ways I try to be more mindful and live my best and healthiest life!