We do a million things during the day but how many of them do we actually wholeheartedly focus on while we’re doing? While it was once used to treat depression and anxiety, mindfulness practices are now being used outside of the therapy world, daily.
Being mindful has many health benefits, says John Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Staying mindful will keep you engaged and keep you on your toes when dealing with difficult situations.
Here are 7 Mindfulness Practices to keep you in the zone:
1. Box Breathing
A major benefit to box breathing is that once you get good at it, you can do it anytime and anywhere. This is a great technique for when your emotions are running high, as it slows your heart rate. If you are unable to watch this gif or one of the many others available, you can trace a square with your finger around something like a post-it. When done quietly, no one will have a clue that you’re working on your emotional and mental intelligence.
Putting your phone down really seems to be everyone’s suggestion for curing ANYTHING. It’s hard to disconnect, if you don’t think you’d be able to that’s okay! You can now use your phone for mindfulness exercises. Check out apps such as Breathe, which will even send you hourly reminders to take a minute to mindfully watch your breath and keep you in check.
3. Body Scan
A body scan is better for those who are a little more seasoned with meditation and they aren’t really great for that “anywhere, anytime” lifestyle. However, body scans are a great nighttime activity for right before bed. Body scans involve progressively tuning into and relaxing every aspect of your body. Upon beginning, laying down is typically the easiest way to tune into your body but eventually with enough practice you’ll even be able to do a body scan standing!
4. Mindful Eating
This practice is fantastic for those of us who live with people who think we eat too fast. Next time you sit down for dinner or even have an apple in the morning, really pay attention to what you’re eating. First focus on the smell and look. Are it’s colors vibrant? Does the scent remind you of anything? Then move onto the actual eating, try to pick out different ingredients. This mindfulness practice has tons of benefits, including weight loss, says Harvard.
5. Mindful Listening
Did you know that the average person only takes in about 25% of what someone has said just a few minutes after the conversation ends? Mindful listening is a practice not many have perfected. At the heart of this mindfulness exercise is being non-judgemental of the person you’re listening to and actively absorbing what the other person is saying.
6. Guided Imagery
Another mindfulness practice that will require some quiet time is Guided Imagery. Guided Imagery is great for the romantics in the crowd. It allows your imagination to take the reigns and create your own space in your mind. You’re supposed to think of a place that makes you feel secure and at peace, such as your childhood home, the beach, a cabin in the woods, whatever it may be you can imagine it. From there, walk yourself through the place and try to remember the smells and colors. Everyone practices guided imagery differently but if you’re having difficulty starting, be sure to check out the many YouTube videos available for some help!
7. Smile in the Mirror
This mindfulness practice is perfect for those who are harsh with their self-judgements. It’s a very simple practice but requires patience, as it’s not an immediate heart-slower like box breathing. When you look in the mirror, smile at yourself and say something nice. The hardest part of this will be identifying your harsh self-judgements that you may believe are fact and that’s what will take time. If you hear something enough times, you’ll start to believe it, you just have to be understanding of the process of self-love. Plus, smiling releases neuropeptides which will help fight off stress, says Psychology Today.
If you’re ready to work on your mindfulness even more, check out Cudoo’s online Mindfulness course!
What are some of your favorite mindfulness exercises? Let us know in the comments below!