Mindfulness is a term that is often brought up but… what does it really mean? Mindfulness refers to a state of awareness of the present moment and it arises from paying close attention to current experiences without judgement. Daily mindfulness practices can of course be done with meditation which is the ultimate way to slow down, become aware, regulate emotions and thoughts, and relieve stress.
Why Is Daily Mindfulness Practices Important
Mindfulness, however, does not necessarily require a meditation practice which is good news if you have a busy schedule and do not have time to set aside to meditate. Let’s explore some simple yet effective ways that you can do daily mindfulness practices.
1. Being Mindful During Conversations
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and while they are speaking, finding your thoughts drifting elsewhere? How about glancing at your phone while talking to someone or even worse, scrolling through social media or texting during a conversation? Sometimes it’s not a matter of disrespect and maybe instead it’s due to the fact that our minds are racing, we’re distracted, and not aware of the present moment. If you find yourself distracted and distant in conversations, practice mindfulness by maintaining eye contact and turning off your phone or keep it far away from you. Additionally, when the other person is speaking, listen to their tone of voice and the context of the conversation carefully and reply accordingly. This might seem like an unnecessary step but often times, people aren’t truly listening and instead they are constructing what they are planning on saying next. Truly listening, with judgment, and adding value with your response instead of a random statement is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness.
2. Being Mindful During Exercise/Yoga
This same concept applies to exercising and doing yoga; is your mind elsewhere during this time? Practicing a mind-body connection during a work out actually makes the exercises more effective. For instance, while you are lifting weights, if you focus on how your muscles feel as well as your breathing instead of a random thought, you will be able to lift more weights. Bringing your awareness to your body during strenuous activities allows your body to perform at its best by engaging your muscles to their fullest ability. If you find this difficult, try working out without headphones and simply focusing on deep inhales and exhales while exercising and bringing your attention to how your body feels. Practicing mindfulness on the mat might seem intuitive but you might be thinking about an array of different things while doing yoga without even noticing it. Shifting your attention to your breath and the alignment of your body during yoga allows you to receive the full benefits while immersing yourself in the present moment and connecting with yourself on a spiritual level.
3. Being Mindful While Eating
How long does it take you on average to eat a meal; 30 minutes, 1 hour? Many of us are eager to sit down and eat when we’re hungry and often times, we don’t even chew our food appropriately let alone consciously enjoy every bite. By eating slowly and chewing thorouhgly, we are able to enjoy the flavors of our food far more than when we rush to empty our plate. One way to practice this is by eating 3-5 small meals throughout the day so that you have an appetite before eating, but you are not starving and you can control the speed at which you are consuming the meal. Apart from how fast we eat, mindful eating also has to do with what we eat. Cooking is a wonderful way to incorporate mindfulness into our lives because we are aware of each and every ingredient that is going into our body. Being vegetarian or vegan is also something to potentially consider in the context of mindful eating because of multiple health benefits and the effects on animal welfare and the environment.
4. Being Mindful While Breathing
Practicing mindful breathing is simple in theory but not that simple in practice. Breathing is an ongoing and automatic function of the body that we usually don’t put too much thought into. By bringing our awareness to every inhale and exhale, our breathing becomes more conscious rather than passive. The idea is to simply observe the breath without necessarily altering it. By shifting attention to the breath, especially during stressful or overwhelming moments, you will feel more relaxed, collected, and calm. Another way to practice mindfulness while breathing is by taking a deep inhale, holding your breath for a few seconds and then releasing any tension through a deep exhale. Repeat this as many times as needed in order to relieve stress. The beauty of mindful breathing is that it turns a reflexive behavior that we take for granted into a conscious act.
5. Being Mindful of Daily Experiences
Routines lead to habits which lead to a decreased response to stimuli in our daily lives. To put simply, when we do the same thing day after day, we sometimes forget to fully enjoy every aspect of it and actions become automatic. There are some simple changes that you can incorporate into your routine that will allow you to become aware of and appreciate everything you experience. When you make a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, feel the warmth of your mug on your hands and enjoy every warm, delicious sip that you take. While taking a shower or bath, observe the way that your body feels and how wonderful it is to feel warm and clean. Overall, learning to pay attention to the little things in our daily lives allows us to enjoy them so much more.
Learn More About Daily Mindfulness Practices With YogaRenew
Increased awareness can be applied to each and every thing that we do that we normally take for granted such as driving, walking, eating, drinking, resting, breathing, talking, and exercising. Practicing mindfulness heightens our senses and enriches our experiences while teaching us that nothing should be overlooked or taken for granted. Become a yoga teacher and master mindfulness with YogaRenew.