We’ve spoken about mindful living in recent posts. It’s about staying present in your day to day life. Instead of getting distracted by to do lists or worrying about work, you focus on what you’re supposed to be doing in this moment.
But for some people, the concept of living mindfully is hard. They want to begin practicing mindful living. They just don’t know where to start.
If you’re someone that struggles with this, try one of these exercises. They might seem a little simple to some, but they are things that are easily incorporated into each and every day. This really just helps you to bring your attention to them and give you focus for living mindfully.
Savour your drink
What’s the first drink you reach for in the morning? It might be coffee, tea, or a refreshing smoothie. Before you take your first sip of the day, pause. Smell your drink. What does it smell like? Taste it. What is the temperature like? What flavors do you taste against your tongue? Notice how the cup feels in your hand as you take another sip. Swallow slowly and concentrate on how your muscles contract as your liquid travels down your esophagus.
Go for a walk in nature.
Feel the breeze on your skin and in your hair. Do you hear any birds singing? What birds are they? What flowers do you see? What thoughts are coming up? How do they make you feel? Take ten minutes to notice your environment as you walk.
If you want, take a friend on your nature walk but agree to go in silence. Bring a camera and a notebook. Snap pictures of items that stand out. Write down what made them stand out. Is it the color or the texture that attracted your attention? Did you notice a shape or pattern? Was there a sound or smell that attracted you to this item?
Listen to music.
Sit in your most comfortable chair and play some background music that relaxes you. Classical music is a good choice. You can also look for spa music on YouTube.
As you listen, focus on your breath. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Take deep belly breaths. Allow the thoughts to come and go without trying to hold too tightly to them. Examine each thought like an observer.
Pay attention to how your body may be going into resistance, by starting to itch and squirm. Adjust your posture or scratch if needed. Notice how the thoughts and experiences that come up influence how you feel.
Colouring – particularly for adults has been rapdily gorwing in popularity. And with good reason. It’s calming, releases stress and helps you focus on the moment.
(See: Why Adults Love to Colour)
Choose a colouring page that inspires you. How do the colours you have chosen make you feel? What does it feel like to move the pen, marker or pencil over paper? What thoughts are coming up? How are these thoughts affecting you? You may want to journal some of these emotions. It’s OK to alternate between colouring and journaling if it helps you.
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Understand that you may feel uncomfortable the first few times that you attempt to practice being mindful. This is completely normal and just means that you’re not used to living in the moment.
Keep doing exercises like the ones above regularly and you will eventually become comfortable with the concept of living mindfully.