You’ve probably heard about the benefits of introducing a mindfulness practice into your life. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, increase self-compassion and acceptance, improve mood and cognitive functioning, and help tune out distractions. Many people picture mindfulness as a meditation practice that requires us to sit down with our legs crossed and focus on our breath for a long period of time. In reality, mindfulness can take shape in a myriad of ways, and you can try different practices until you find one that works for you.
We suggest the following mindfulness practices you can easily implement and enjoy in a variety of settings:
Mindfully eat a raisin or piece of chocolate. Sit down and hold the raisin or chocolate in your hand. Study the texture, feel the weight in your hand, give it a smell. Put the raisin or chocolate in your mouth and let it sit on your tongue. Feel the texture of the item against your tongue or roof of mouth. Start to taste the flavor. Are any memories or images coming to mind? Slowly chew on the raisin or chocolate, being mindful of each sensation. After chewing and swallowing, pause and take a moment to notice where your mind is at and how you’re feeling.
Think of five things you are grateful for. Pause for a few minutes and either write or mentally consider five things you are grateful for. Allow any images, thoughts, or emotions to rise up and just notice them. Sometimes by slowing down and reflecting on what matters to us, we can become reconnected to the present moment.
Use your five senses. Locate 5 things you can see, 4 sounds you hear, 3 smells that cross your nose, 2 things you can touch, and 1 thing you can taste. Bring your awareness to any judgment thoughts that arise, and label them as “thoughts.”
Dance! Put on a favorite song and let yourself fully enjoy the sensations of dancing. Go “all in” and embrace the feeling of moving your body without fear of being judged. Sing along if you know the lyrics, and notice how it feels to engage in this one activity at this one moment in time.
Cho, J. (2016). 6 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeenacho/2016/07/14/10-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-mindfulness-and-meditation/#25c2d94063ce.