The Wonders of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the state of mind where you are completely present and aware of your surroundings and actions. In this state of mind, you are not over-stimulated or overwhelmed by your surroundings or circumstances. In addition to being a state of mind, mindfulness can be something that you can practice in your daily life. One can practice mindfulness practically anywhere, lying in bed, sitting inside a car, while taking a walk, and so on. What you need to do for this is to draw your attention to the present. Let go of your regrets from the past and the anxiety about the future.

There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness. It helps to ground us, to savour each moment and to enjoy the present. It helps to relieve the tensions in your mind and to take a break from the worries in your life. Apart from bringing mental peace, practicing mindfulness has been shown to have certain positive outcomes on your physical well-being as well. It can reduce your anxiety, improve your sleep and overall well-being. It can also help you to become more empathetic and understanding, which in turn, will help to foster better interpersonal relationships.

How to practice mindfulness

  • To successfully achieve this state of mind, you can practice various meditations and exercises. With practice, you can improve and learn to reach there faster. You can try out any of the following exercising to start with and gradually, try more of them.
  • First, find a peaceful spot and sit in a relaxed position. Relax and observe your wandering thoughts. Consider how you are feeling at the moment and observe all the emotions that you are going through. Study yourself in the perspective of your surroundings. Feel the touch of your bottom against your seat. Try to sense the texture of the ground beneath your feet. Observe the warmth of your face, the feel of your hands, the dampness of your breath. If your thoughts wander, ground yourself to the moment and try again. Try this exercise for 5 to 8 minutes each day.
  • Take 5 minutes to observe yourself and the world around you. Close your eyes and let your ears be your guide. What do you hear? Do you hear your breathing? Do you hear the sound of the bird chirping on the tree outside? Try to identify at least 5 sounds that you hear during this exercise.
  • Take a seat and position your feet on the floor. Take a few breathes in for 3 seconds. Slowly, breathe out for 3 seconds. While you do this, try to observe your breathing, how each breath enters and exists your body. Follow the breath as it enters your nostrils, travels through your body and fills your chest. Notice how your chest compresses as you exhale.
  • Take a nature walk. Choose a place where there are plenty of trees or plants. It could be your garden or a park or a museum. Take a minute to smell a flower. Feel how the wind rustles the branches. Listen to the crunch of the soil beneath your feet. See if you can spot a bird. Take in the whole scenery.
  • Take a fruit or sweet of your choice. Before you eat, smell it and take in the aroma. While you eat, notice how it feels in your mouth. Observe each crunch, fold and texture. Study it like you are eating it for the very first time. Follow each moment and observe the food as it reaches your stomach. How do you feel right now?
  • Take a small object that can fit into your hand. It could be a piece of jewellery or a small showpiece, etc. Notice its texture and how it feels on your skin. Smell it. Observe each and every aspect of it. Concentrate on the object alone for a few minutes.
  • Lie down somewhere comfortable and pretend that you are lying on grass, looking up at the sky, seeing clouds floating by. Think about your day or your life. Picture each thought you have as a cloud. Label that thought or cloud. For example, if you are thinking about what to make for dinner, it could be a planning thought and if you are thinking that ‘I have been treated unfairly at the office today’, it can an angry or sad thought. Label each thought without worrying about getting the correct name for it. There is no right or wrong answer. Try not to judge yourself for the thoughts that you are having. Try not to fixate on one thought alone. Let it go and think of other thoughts. Do this for 5-8 minutes.
  • Think of a meaningful word or phrase. Think about the word while you do some deep breathing. For example, think ‘good’ while breathing in and ‘day’ while breathing out. If your mind wanders, bring it back and continue.
  • This exercise can be done while you are showering. You can concentrate on the four senses of smell, feel, sound and sight while you do this. Notice the flow and pattern of water as it touches your skin. Is it warm or cool? While you soap yourself, feel the bubbles and take in the smell. Notice the pattern of the tiles. Listen to the pitter-patter of water on the floor. Look around and observe everything, take in the fresh smell of new clothes, your shampoo or oil.

Mindfulness in your daily life

  • If you are having a difficult time concentrating on something, take a break and try to do any of the above exercises. Bring your attention to your thoughts and emotions. Watch your thoughts as they come and go. Consider your emotions. Observe how your body feels and try to relax.
  • Multi-tasking may sometimes feel overwhelming and you might experience difficulty focusing. Finish one task, take a small break and then move on to the next. It might be easier to finish tasks if you are more mindful towards the one at hand.
  • Journaling is a wonderful way to identify and label your thoughts and emotions. It helps you to be aware of your emotions, which is important on your journey towards better mental health. Your journal can be your safe place, where you can write down your private thoughts without fear, shame or judgment.

Mindfulness exercise can help you deal with some of the issues that you may be facing. Incorporate these exercises into your routine for a few days and see if it is making a difference. You may also try some of the meditations apps to practice some guided mindfulness meditations.

In gratitude to various sources from where points have been picked up and put together ❤️

Article By :Manju Elsa Isac, Salma Jennath
Inputs from team bodhini.