A Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness

There is so much going on in our lives, the overwhelm comes too easily. We are constantly multitasking and working five steps ahead of ourselves. Those things serve a purpose, don’t get me wrong, but practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress, improve relationships and bring back joy to the everyday things. 

We drive the kids to school, while thinking of our grocery list and fielding questions from the back seat. We eat our meals while watching television. We exercise while listening to a podcast or watching a show. 

What if we slowed down a little and did just one thing at a time? Your mind needs rest to serve you well. You could actually be more efficient at things if you did only one at a time. We can get so scattered if we try to do too much at once. This is where mindfulness comes into play. 

What is mindfulness? 

a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Here are some examples of simple things you can do to practice mindfulness today:

  • Focus on your breathing. Sit still and just breathe. Notice how your body feels as you breathe in and breathe out. Fill your lungs with a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds before releasing. 

  • Practice eating or drinking something while really concentrating on that action. How does the food feel in your mouth as you chew it. What particular flavors are most prominent/less prominent? How does it feel as you swallow it? By focusing on our food we can learn to really enjoy it more and be more mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. How many bags of chips have you eaten while watching t.v. without really noticing? I know I have!

  • Put your feet on the ground outside and notice the feeling of being grounded to the earth. This is awesome to try barefoot in the grass. Just stand there and notice what your senses show you. 

  • Sit quietly in a busy room and just notice that moment. Watch how your children play. Notice their voices and their movements. Those moments go by so quickly, you would do well to take time to feel those moments.

  • Take a shower and clear your thoughts to just be aware of the present moment. Feel the water cascading over your body. Notice how the water feels. Pay attention to the bubbles your shampoo makes. Listen to the sound of the water. Immerse yourself in just being present.

Now, I’m not going to tell you to do all of these things every day. That is not realistic. I am going to tell you to try at least one of these daily. It does wonders for your mind, body and soul to find rest in the present time. 

When we practice mindfulness, we are training the brain to focus on the present moment while observing and accepting our feelings without judgement. We just let the thoughts flow without ascribing judgements as good or bad. Meditation can be a big part of this. There are some amazing guided meditations out there to help you get started. Mindfulness boosts creativity by training the brain to focus on just one thing. Mindfulness strengthens neural connections increasing concentration, flexibility and awareness. Just think of your interpersonal relationships if you practiced mindfulness while you were having a conversation. Your concentration and focus on the moment will allow you to be a much better listener.

Which of these mindfulness practices will you start with? Just choose one to try today. Try something else tomorrow.

I love to incorporate essential oils into my mindfulness and meditation practice. If you want to know my top 5 oils for meditation, click here and I’ll send you my guide.

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