It’s true that the imperative to practice mindfulness might feel like the latest trend in the wellness world, but the reality is that mindfulness is an ancient tradition from the Eastern world. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and experiencing your surroundings, thoughts, and sensations without judgment. Beyond the spiritual practice of mindfulness, the benefits as outlined by the American Psychological Association include a reduction in rumination, the alleviation of stress, and boosts to working memory. That’s not for nothing, right?
We’re all pretty much on board with the ideas that mindfulness can positively impact our lives, but you may wonder how to implement the practice into your routine. Breaking those habits of worry, doubt, and tension build up can seem impossible to change.
Remember that an element of mindfulness is eliminating judgment, so give yourself a break. Start small with microdoses of mindfulness meditation. Just like you aren’t going to get in physical shape by starting out running a marathon, but rather you train and work up to that goal. Train yourself to practice mindfulness in small doses throughout your day to train yourself with the habit of mindfulness.
The best way to learn a new skill is to learn from those who are already experts--and then to jump in and learn from doing. Here are some tips and inspiration from the experts on how to begin to practice mindfulness in your life.
5 Microdoses of Mindfulness
1. Designate phone-free zones and situations
“One way to promote [mindfulness] is to establish phone-free spaces and conditions, and we recommend doing so in the places that matter most,” says Sarah Vaynerman, CEO of Work From Om®, a company that brings mindfulness, meditation and yoga into the workplace. “Perhaps you can leave your phone at home during your daily jog, designate a no-phones rule for a weekly meeting at work or agree that dinners with your partner/kids/best friend are phone-free situations. When we make the effort to eliminate distractions from life’s precious moments, we are able to experience them more fully and improve relationships with others, our work, and ourselves.”
2. Bring mindfulness into your routine
Believe it or not, you can even be mindful while doing routine chores--and that might even be the ideal time to practice. “The more you can bring mindfulness into your routine, the more powerful,” offers Rebecca Shisler Marshall, Ph.D., a researcher and teacher of mindfulness. “Washing the dishes, driving, brushing your teeth are all vehicles for everyday mindfulness. Bring your full attention to the sensations (the soap bubbles, the steering wheel, etc) and come back to being in your body.”
3. Mindful communication
Too often when interacting with our fellow humans we are not intentionally communicating, but instead focused on any number of things, like what we are going to say next. Miriam Amselem from www.naturallyhealthybymiri.com suggests, “When speaking with someone face to face, take a moment to look at their eyes and truly listen without planning the next sentence in your mind. I like to call that a mindful connection.”
4. Write it down
Maria Ramos-Chertok, the author of "The Butterfly Series: Fifty-two Weeks of Inquiries for Transformation,” recommends, “One way to bring mindfulness into your life is to do a daily inquiry: a question that you focus on throughout the day. You can journal your responses or simply do a mental reflection."
5. Pay attention to your senses
Karly Hoffman King is a mental health counselor based in Ohio. She suggests using this technique as a tool to develop mindfulness. “A quick form of mindfulness, called grounding is achieved by bringing awareness to your 5-senses experience. Something I regularly recommend to clients: notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things that you feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.”
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