While mindfulness has been practiced by groups of people for thousands of years from all over the world in various forms, it most closely ties with historic Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Since then, the practice has been popularized across the Western world and now exists within many secular practices.
Anyone can benefit from incorporating mindfulness into their lives. However, it is important to forget all preconceptions you may have about the practice before beginning.
Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” In most cases, the practice is used to become aware of our own thoughts and feelings in the present moment and simply allow them to be while acknowledging them. Human minds are capable of great things. One simple example of our brains’ capabilities, is the fact that we can be self-aware of our own thoughts. This is sometimes why mindfulness can be difficult at first, we end up spending time thinking about ourselves trying to think about our thoughts. This ability to remove ourselves and play the third party to our minds, is actually the first step towards mindfulness.
Throughout the rest of the blog, we will describe two simple ways you can begin incorporating mindful practices into your daily life. We have referenced these practices from the Positive Psychology Program and Mind Body Green.
Practice Mindful Seeing
Position yourself in front of a window, or if you are outside, point yourself to your preferred view. Now, take in the entirety of the scenery and try to avoid labeling what you see as a ‘tree’ or ‘fence’. Instead, focus on colors, textures, and heights. Next, notice the breeze and the movement of the items within your view. Take note of all the different shapes within your view and attempt to see these things as someone unfamiliar with these sights. Your aim during this exercise is to remain observant and aware, but not critical.
Start a Mindfulness Journal
Often times, practicing mindfulness through journal entries can be forgotten. Yet, it is one of the most simple and attainable ways to practice. You don’t need a fancy pen or notebook, anything simple will do. A tip we found by Mind Body Green, was to first go on a mindful walk. Simply notice your body’s movement, the way your clothes feel on your skin, the way the breeze is moving, your body temperature, etc. You can then record these thoughts and feelings in your journal after. Another way to practice mindful journaling is to write about a memory. Simply relax and let your mind take you to any memory it chooses, if it is a painful one, let yourself go there. Then, write or draw about this memory in your notebook. Mindfulness is all about your feelings in the present, so it can be hugely beneficial to also examine past memories in a mindful way to come to a greater understanding of yourself.
Your mindfulness skills will be constantly evolving from this point on. We hope this blog provides you a simple and to the point description and application of mindfulness.
By Abby Cole