How to integrate mindfulness into our daily lives
Mindfulness is a method of meditation. It consists of being aware of what is happening right now, in this very moment.
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Basic concepts of mindfulness
- Being present in the present moment.
- Focusing your attention and breath on your emotions or body.
- Accepting your thoughts and feelings without valuing or judging them.
- Mindfulness is actually a simple method that you can practice at any time.
- Practice being present and experience what is happening around you without filters. Actually you can practice it at any time, for example on the bus, when you take a shower or when you cook. The important thing is your mental and emotional state.
- Do not give up easily if you see that at the beginning there are no apparent changes, it takes time to learn to be consciously in the present and yet for some it may be more difficult than for others.
- You can start practicing with the exercises described here.
Exercises to practice mindfulness
You don’t need any special equipment to practice mindfulness.
Here are six sample exercises. The first two are about being present in everyday life while eating an apple and taking a shower, for example. Exercise number three is a meditation exercise focused on breathing. Exercises four and five also focus on breathing, but also on focusing attention on the body.
Exercise 1: Eat an apple
Hold the apple in your hand and observe the color and shape, also turn it so you can look at it from all directions. Smell and feel its surface slowly. Take a bite and become aware of what you have swallowed with your tongue. Pay attention to what happens in your mouth, the saliva flowing into your mouth. Chew slowly and experience the taste being present with your five senses.
Pay attention to how you feel when you have finished chewing and swallowing it. You can also describe your experience to someone who has never seen an apple, and gain a greater perspective.
You can also do similar simple exercises without having to be an apple at any time of the day, such as cooking, washing dishes, talking to someone, brushing your teeth, or eating breakfast. The point is your state of mind of full presence in the present.
Exercise 2: In the shower
As you shower, try to be attentive to everything that happens, as if it were the first time in your life that you are taking a shower. Feel the air and the water against your body. Notice how it feels when you change the temperature of the water, when you lather up, or when you towel dry. What does it feel like to pour soap or shampoo on your hand? What sounds do you hear and what smells do you smell? Feel it.
Exercise 3: Focus on breathing without breath control
It is often easier to calm down if you concentrate on breathing, breathing is really everything. As soon as you feel signs of anxiety, you can take three slow breaths. This way you can stop, bring yourself to attention and distance yourself from your thoughts and feelings.
Do a simple exercise like this:
Sit on a chair or, for example, on a pillow on the floor with your legs crossed. Feel free to place pillows under your knees if your knees do not reach the floor. This makes you sit more firmly and you can more easily maintain an upright and stable position, with your back straight or on a backrest.
Concentrate on breathing. Close your eyes if you wish. Listen to your breathing.
Feel where your breath is, in your chest or stomach. Follow your natural inhalation with each step. Then follow the exhalation to the end. Continue in this way with the exercise.
You discover your thoughts passing, which is completely normal. Observe the thoughts, accept them, release them and return to breathing.
Exercise 4: Focus your attention on your body – body scanning
This exercise can be useful, for example, if you have difficulty sleeping because it facilitates relaxation.
Lie down on a bed or, for example, on a mat on the floor. Let your legs be slightly apart and feet fall to the sides, arms along the sides of the body.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let the body relax more and more with each exhalation.
Pay attention to how the stomach moves in rhythm with the breath and follow these movements for a while. Throughout the exercise, try to contact the breathing movements of your stomach from time to time. Then focus your attention there, even if you are busy with other things.
Focus your attention on the body. Let all parts of the body remain still and relaxed while you concentrate on them. Start with your left big toe. What do you feel here at this very moment? Hot, cold, pressure, itching? Do you feel how it feels in your toe right now? Can you feel tingling, vibration, or anything else? Maybe you don’t feel anything at all, body sensations come and go.
From the big toe, continue to the other toes and then to the whole foot. Feel the right foot in the same way and continue on both legs at the same time, calves, knees and thighs. Then you go through the buttocks, pelvis, hips and abdomen. Go over the abdomen, back, chest and both arms starting at the fingertips. Continue to pay attention to the arms with the palms, back of the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, armpits and upper arms. Now the neck, neck, head, ears and face. Feel your mouth, tongue, palate and teeth.
When you have finished, you can open your eyes and do some stretching.
Exercise 5: Feel what you feel
Sit comfortably, for example, in a chair or on a pillow on the floor with your legs crossed. If you want, place pillows under your knees if your knees do not reach the floor.
Close your eyes and concentrate on the breathing movements of your stomach for a while. Be aware of the feeling you have at this moment. Where in your body can you feel the sensation? Try to be as precise as possible in your description of the feeling. Can you describe the color and shape? Try to find words for what you feel, for example, “a pressure, a cramp, it feels. . . ”
Allow the feeling and accept it as it is. Just keep paying your attention to what is happening inside you.
Finish by concentrating on the breath for a while before opening your eyes and ending the exercise.
Exercise 6: Practice self-compassion.
This exercise can be good when something is heavy or when self-criticism or our own negative internal dialogue is strong.
Stop and say that right now everything is difficult. Accept it!
Place a hand over your heart or another place on your body that you feel comfortable with. Let the body feel the warmth through the touch of the hand.
Gently repeat that it is heavy and difficult, and at the same time that there are other people in the same situation who feel the same way and that is part of life. Accept it. Certain things just are and we cannot change them and yet paradoxically from a state of acceptance is when we can change them in synchronicity with the Universe, the Presence.
It is when the possibilities of the quantum field open up but only if you do it from a state of peace, not expectations.
Self-compassion means that you can be your own best friend when you face adversity. At the same time, it is important not to have expectations that everything will be fine if you just do this exercise. Whatever it is. Exercise cannot make the pain or difficulty you are going through at the moment go away. However, exercise can make it easier for you to deal with the difficulty of the pain and reduce your self-criticism. Change your mental perspective on pain!
It may seem like an arduous task but it’s worth a try and in the end you see the results, whatever it is.
We also know this thanks to neuroscience and the neuroplasticity of our brain.
We have the power to improve our present with our mind!
Feel it Now!
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