I do not doubt that you've heard the word mindfulness several times - so many times in fact that you could be excused for thinking that it was just another trend hitting social media.
But, that's not the case; its foundations are deeply rooted in eastern traditions, and it has been practiced for thousands of years... for a good reason.
"Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it."- Sylvia Boorstein
Go ahead and read that again sis. Imagine if you could stop living on autopilot and start being more aware in your everyday life? The most significant part about practicing mindfulness, you don't need anything special to get started; there's no classes or expensive equipment required - and best of all, this act costs nothing.
What's even better is the holistic benefits? Here's just a few of the ways mindfulness can help us all out, courtesy of a Harvard Health Study:
• Lowers anxiety and stress levels
• Controls blood pressure
• Builds feelings of gratitude
• Improves focus
• Nurtures spiritual evolution
So, if you are new to the idea of taking a more mindful approach to your days, where should you start? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Take a breathe
Sounds like a simple enough concept right sis? When you stop right in the present moment to take a breather is so essential. To do this, close your eyes while you exhale and inhale slowly, feeling each breath contract and release in and out of your body. Do this regularly to help remove any negativity, lift your mood and release any tension you might have going on.
Focus and center
It's been proven that our brains can't juggle multiple tasks well. So let's stop praising how well we can multitask and let yourself focus on one task for a time. It will only benefit you, trust me, sis.
Slow it down
There's no need to do power-race through life. It only leads to high-stress levels, missed opportunities and now time to self reflect on all the good in your life. Easing the pace doesn't necessarily mean getting less done if you approach it the right way. Figure out what works for you and stick to it.
Release your emotions
Now this one has always been tough for me, but hey, I'm comfortable being a work in progress! I've found the key here is to acknowledge the emotion you are feeling, instead of letting it fester. Do whatever you need to do; cry, laugh, yell, journal it out. As long as you release it, you can finally deal and move on from it in your own time.
Take a beat
Ever feel like you can't find a moment to stop and freeze time? Well, it's easy. Sit for a while and be - you'll love yourself for it later.
Connect your senses
Choose to experience a moment through one primary reason; stop and focus on everything that you can hear and see right now, close your eyes if you can and listen. Try doing the same with your other senses too - it's a fun and easy way to get in touch with them.
Get fresh air
Everyone needs to feel the sun on their skin or the wind in their hair just once, sis. There are so many ways we can connect with nature but getting out and going hiking does the trick for me.
Nourish your body
We are all victims of the natural and convenient pick-me-ups at lunchtime. Vending machine woes anyone? Instead of rushing through your lunch, give your body something healthy and good for you. Then, give yourself some space around each meal to enjoy it and reset; you'll be amazed how much more smoothly your day can go.
Relax and Release
Listen out for the moments when judgment rears its ugly head and remind yourself that it's merely a thought; not a statement of fact. Learn not to act on the ideas. Acknowledge them and then release them.
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