The Art of Practicing Mindfulness

stop and smell the flowers

The Art of Practicing Mindfulness

Serenity

What is Mindfulness?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it in 2 different ways:

  • “The quality or state of being mindful”
  • “The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”

It’s turning off the automated moves and living in the “Now”.  Being present for all we do and using all our senses and absorbing the surroundings.  Take back control of the busy brain, rein in those wild thoughts and let them drift away with the clouds. Mindfulness is simple and free and can be flexed around any schedule to add more relaxation to anyone’s day.

For starters, there are several simple things you can do to become more mindful:

  • Make gratitude a part of your routine.  Be thankful for the simple pleasures. Stop and take notice; you’ll smile more, maybe even laugh.
  • Focus on your breathing. Take a few nice slow deep breaths. This will help you be present and drown out your thoughts to transport you back to the present.
  • Take time to do nothing.  Five to ten minutes can make a difference.
  • Increase your awareness.  Engage in an activity as small as smelling the flowers, petting your cat or something more active like going for a walk, swim or run.
  • Meditate. The morning can be one of the best times of day to meditate. All it takes is 5 minutes and can make a profound difference. But if mornings don’t agree with you perhaps afternoon is a good time to chase the stress away and refocus.

Reaping the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation includes the following:

  • Improves restful slumber
  • Decreases stress levels
  • Decreases loneliness
  • Reduces temporary negative feelings
  • Improves attention
  • Manages chronic pain
  • Helps prevent depression relapse
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Increases brain gray matter
  • Supports weight-loss goals
outdoor dining

Therefore, to assist in supporting weight-loss goals try mindful eating.  Cook your own meals from whole foods, that is, food in its natural state.  When you do this, you’ll create a loving culinary delight knowing the ingredients in each bite.  A meal should take you at least 20 minutes to eat. Prepare a place where you are comfortable and can appreciate your food.  Eat slowly, feel the texture in your mouth, and chew until it is pulverized.  Mixing food with your saliva is the first part of proper digestion.  Put your utensils down in between each bite and savor the flavors.  Eat until you are 80 percent full because it takes the brain a little while to catch up with the stomach. This also helps you do a check-in with your body during meals.

Being mindful of what, why, and how you eat will bring more satisfaction to meals, reduce post meal indigestion, keep your body nutritionally sound and ultimately increased overall health.

Take this moment, to be aware of where you are, notice whose around you, and how your body feels.  Take a deep breath, smile for a moment or more, be thankful for something and carry on.

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