If you clicked on this article, it's likely you already know the benefits of a mindfulness practice, such as decreased stress, decreased feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as better focus and overall life outlook.
You may be thinking.. "I know mindfulness is good for me, but how do I get my mind quiet?"
The truth is, we don't.
Wiht consistent practice, I've gotten glimpses of complete stillness - but that's not ultimately what mindfulness is all about.
Mindfulness is about noticing how we react to our surroundings. It's about connecting with ourselves and thus with those around us. It's being aware of the thoughts we're telling ourselves and not attaching ourselves to them.
So, here are some of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness in my daily routine:
Put away distractions
We can sense when someone is on their phone and not giving us their full attention. It's hurtful to be talking with and trying to connect with someone who is paying more attention to what's going on behind the screen than who/what is right in front of us. It's also difficult to give ourselves the proper attention and care if we're paying attenion to other people's needs.
Start your mindfulness practice by putting your phone on silent and set it away from you, facing the screen down so as not to be distracted. Set a timer if you feel worried about the amount of time you have
Connection to the breath is the quickest and easiest way to get out of our heads and into our bodies to be in the present moment. Syncing the breath with movement is why the practice of yoga is so powerful. Begin to notice your inhales and exhales. Maybe you notice the cool air as you breathe in through the nose and the warm air as you breathe out through the nose. Find a rhythm that feels good for you and begin to tune in to the sensations you feel with each breath
When I'm feeling nervous, I feel butterflies in my stomach.
When I feel hurt, I feel a pressure on my chest.
When I'm angry, I can feel my face heating up.
We physically feel the sensations of our feelings and emotions. Next time you feel a strong emotion coming on, notice where you feel it in your body. Bringing awareness to it can lessen the sensations and often diffuse the intensity
A simple search engine or YouTube search can lead you to all kinds of guided mindfulness techniques for different topics. You can search mindfulness for beginners, mindfulness for coping, or whatever comes up for you on that day. I also love my home yoga practice, and watch YouTube videos frequently. This channel is my favorite.
Which brings me to my next mindfulness practice..
Yoga is allows the body to go into shapes that we don't normally put ourselves in. When we move our bodies in different ways, we open up our body's ability to flow more smoothly and create a more peaceful environment for a mindfulness meditation. Find a local yoga class or YouTube channel you enjoy and enjoy the stillness & changes in body, mind, and spirit.
Earthing and being in nature is one of the best ways to reconnect with our surroundings and with ourselves. Go for a walk or a hike, or find something you enjoy doing outside such as gardening. Fresh air does the body good, especially this time of year after we've been indoors cooped up all winter.
Have you ever finished an exercise routine and regretted it? Me either. When we choose to move our bodies in some way, we're releasing endorphins and other happy chemicals. A walking meditation, running, tennis, weightlifting, or Pilates.. Whatever your preference of movement, find something that brings you joy and bring conscious awareness to the gift of your body being able to move!
Some of my favorite oils to slow my mind down and get myself in a more receptive state to be still are:
-Frankincense: apply to the bottoms of the feet and to the shoulders
-Adaptiv: apply to the nape of the neck below the hairline and to pulse points for increased focus and stress support
-Brave: roll on the pulse points for feelings of courage, especially if you're new to giving this a try
-Wild Orange: this oil is like happiness in a bottle. Put one drop in the palms and deeply inhale before beginning your practice
-Balance: apply to the bottoms of the feet for more of a sense of groundedness
I try to choose a new oil or two to use each day and mix it up, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. These are simply the go-to oils I tend to reach for the most. Close your eyes and pick from your oil collection and you'll have an oil that boosts the mood and brings about positive emotions. Our bodies are extremely intelligent, so whatever you gravitate towards is what you most need in that moment! Don't question yourself and remember that there is no wrong way to practice mindfulness
Peace & Plants,
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