Mindfulness is all about noticing where you are in the here and now. It gives you a break from worrying about the past or the future. Mindfulness can have benefits for mental health and wellbeing, and it's easy to fit into your everyday life. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
1. Schedule some quiet time
If every minute in your diary is packed with things to do, pencil in some time for just being quiet. Make an appointment with yourself, and honour it as you would any other commitment.
2. Keep a gratitude diary
We all have problems, large or small, and it's easy to focus on what's going wrong. But we also have much to be thankful for. Keeping a gratitude diary is a great way to become more mindful and appreciative of the good things in your life.
3. Notice the beauty of nature
Modern life can make us forget that we're part of the natural world. Refresh yourself by taking note of nature’s beauty when you’re walking along, or just looking out the window.
4. Switch off technology
Treat yourself to a mini digital detox. Being online all the time keeps you on edge, watching for the next demand on your time or attention. Having TV or music on in the background means you can’t hear yourself think. Switch it all off for 10 minutes to start off with and notice what you’re thinking, feeling and what your body is doing during this period of time. Stay with the experience and give yourself some space, whatever is happening.
When you smile, it does make you feel happier. You'll also get a more positive response from other people. And after a while it becomes a good habit.
6. Remind yourself that thoughts are not facts
In your head, you're always having a conversation with yourself. Simply thinking something does not make it real. Be objective and ask yourself what's actually happening.
7. Listen kindly to yourself
Emotions on the other hand are very real indeed. Listen to your feelings and be just as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend.
8. Turn a routine into a mindful moment
Whether it's cleaning your teeth, showering or doing the washing up, your daily routine is full of moments for mindfulness. Pick one thing you do every day and make it a habit to give this activity your full attention.
9. Take a lunch break
When it's time for lunch, give yourself a proper break. Get away from your usual workspace to relax and enjoy your lunch. This is just as helpful if you’re at home during the day.
Pay attention to your breathing. You can do this any time of the day or night. Try starting with 10 breaths, counting each one. Don’t try to make your breathing faster or slower – just allow your body to get on with it, and notice how it feels. With regular practice, you can increase the number of breaths.
Give some of these ideas a try and see if you feel calmer and less pressured. Think of it as giving yourself permission to savour your life and to live it on your own terms.
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