Mindfulness is a technique and form of meditation used to help combat stress, anxiety, and depression. It is all about being conscious and fully present in the ‘here and now’ by paying proper attention to the normal, everyday things which are going on around you.
This may sound strange, like it wouldn’t make a jot of difference to your mental well-being, but speaking from personal experience – it does!
Being ‘mindful’ enables individuals to enjoy the world around them more by fully immersing themselves in it.
By being more conscious, people are also more aware of their own behavior and start to recognize patterns in their thoughts and feelings.
We have put together this how-to guide to help you get started with practising mindfulness.
1. Set Aside 10 Minutes Per Day
First of all, you will need to make sure you have time set aside to practice mindfulness once a day.
This needs to be around 10 minutes or so, and you need to be sure you won’t be disturbed during this time.
It could be first thing in the morning, at lunchtime or just before bed – it doesn’t matter.
Just pick a time and stick to it!
2. Find A Comfortable Space
To be able to practice mindfulness effectively, you need to be comfortable.
Whether this place is on your bed, at your desk or out in the countryside, make sure that this place is relatively quiet, undisturbed, and calming.
You might want to make this space even more suited to mindfulness by adding soft lighting, candles, and lots of soft furnishings.
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3. Focus Fully On Your Surroundings
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Make sure that you are not completely stressed out before you start meditating.
If you are, you won’t gain much from the period of mindfulness.
Start to take a look around your location and really focus on your surroundings.
For example, if you are outside, don’t just gloss over the trees – take a look at their leaves and the details of the bark.
Don’t just look though.
Be sure to feel the grass you sit on, the wind in your hair, or the feel of the pillow below your head.
By focusing on your surroundings properly, you will ground yourself and become fully present both in the here and now and in your thoughts.
4. Breathe Deeply
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We all know how relaxing breathing deeply can be, and it is an essential step towards successful mindfulness.
Begin by taking in a deep breath for several seconds, and really concentrate on your air filling your lungs.
Then, exhale deeply and really feel the breath leaving your body.
Once again, by concentrating on how this feels, and how it affects your body, you will become more grounded and present in yourself.
5. Let Negative Thoughts Wash Over You
This can be really difficult at first, but this is a big step towards being at ease with oneself, and practice makes perfect.
Allow negative thoughts to enter your mind, but don’t pay too much attention to them.
Instead, allow them to simply float into your mind – don’t fight them, let them enter your head.
But, allow them to float away again, and bring your attention back to focusing on your breathing and your surroundings.
I personally like to visualize my thoughts on a cloud and imagine them floating through my mind before disappearing into nothing.
Some people also imagine them as passing buses.
By practising this technique of just letting bad thoughts and feelings go, they will lessen in significance and affect you less in daily life.
6. Take It Into Your Daily Life
You don’t just practice mindfulness in those 10 daily minutes.
You can also apply it to your daily life by making a few simple changes to how you live.
For example, rather than sitting at your desk at lunch, you could go for a walk around the block, and really notice the world around you and how your presence fills it.
You could also eat mindfully, by really tasting what you are eating and fully appreciating the textures in your mouth.
Another great thing to do is to relax in the shower – breathe deeply, and feel the water washing over you.
Mindfulness isn’t for everyone, but if you manage to practice it regularly it will feel much easier, and will have a big impact on your life and overall mental well being.
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