Mindfulness is the hot term we have been hearing in relation to mental wellness in recent years. According to the Oxford Dictionary, its meaning is two-fold. One is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. The other, which I have been focusing on, defines it as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. The website YouMatter further defines it as Mindfulness can mean being aware of your breath. Realizing the changes within your abdominal area as your body receives, it adapts to the inflow of air each time you inhale and exhale. Focusing your attention on the food you are eating is another example of mindfulness.
When you’re feeling distracted, practising mindfulness is a great way to improve your headspace.
1. Observe your breathing
Take a few minutes from your day to focus on your breathing. It’s important to remember that mindfulness isn’t a once off kind of thing. It takes time and practice to develop it.
You can start to practise your breathing by taking some deep breaths, in and out. Try casting your wandering thoughts aside. Read more about how to mediate.
2. Go for a nature walk
Going for a walk can be good exercise, but it’s easy being distracted when we’re caught up in our thoughts.
Did you know that walking meditation allows us to guide ourselves out of the autopilot we sometimes find ourselves in. It’s as easy as finding a quiet space to walk and you can practise it in nature, down a hallway or on a city street.
As you walk, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your feet. Notice the movement in your legs and body. And if you find your thoughts wandering, bring them back to the sensation of your movement.
3. Take mini breaks throughout the day
If you’re finding it difficult to be still, it’s important to take time out of your day. Mindfulness can help you refocus your energy. You can think about how you’re feeling in the moment – whether you’re tired or have any aches – and prevent your mind from wandering to other things.
To make the most of your mini break, sit down comfortably and focus your attention fully on the feeling of your feet touching the floor, or your bottom on the chair. You can also get your senses involved, and focus in on what you can smell, see, hear, feel or taste at the present moment. Take at least a few minutes to pay attention to your body instead of what you’ve been doing.
4. Avoid doing too many things at once
Have you ever started doing something only to have forgotten what you’re doing? Sometimes our brains can get a little fuzzy and we get side-tracked.
It can happen, say, if you’re doing homework and a friend sends you a message. Doing too many things can be distracting, so it’s best to limit yourself to doing one task at time. This becomes more important when you’re doing something which requires your full attention.
5. Create a journal
You could consider a bullet journal or just write down how you’re feeling each day. This helps you to track your mood overtime and causes you to reflect on how you’re feeling each day. We’ll get into journaling tomorrow. In recent weeks when I have became really stressed, journaling has given me an outlet to process my thoughts in a safe and effective manner so that I don’t let them carry in my head over time and then erupt when the autistic mask comes off. So far I have found it very effective for me, enjoy doing it and find it very relaxing thus far.
I can’t say that I am there with mindfulness, but it is improving and by taking the time to do what is necessary for me to stay well, it is definitely keeping the stinkin’ thinking away from my brain. The future looks good as of right now and in a pandemic-laden world it seems to have been getting better with these new techniques.