Mindfulness is the practice of allowing ourselves to be present in the current moment. It is about bringing all your senses activated to the present on purpose. It also helps us feel connected to our bodies, surroundings, and feelings. Mindfulness can be helpful when an individual is feeling anxiety, unable to emotionally regulate, or is disassociating (zoning out). By learning to be present in the moment and accepting without judging what we discover we can change the structures of our brains by making it a practice. Mindfulness can be practiced many ways but here are some tips to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.
This tool is quick and can be used almost anywhere. Find 5 things you can see with your eyes. Name 4 things you can touch right now. What are 3 things you can hear right now? List 2 things you can smell. Lastly, what is 1 thing that you can taste right now? This tool engages your senses and helps your body connect to its surrounding.
How often do you pay attention to what you experience when you’re eating? Not often, right? That’s not uncommon as we eat so often it becomes second nature to us. We remember what things will feel and taste like that we don’t need to purposefully pay attention. However, engaging your senses when eating not only increase the enjoyment you get from your food but also help as a mindfulness practice. Try focusing on how fast you are chewing your food. Take slow bites and chews and notice what is happening in your mouth. What are the textures of the food? Is it hard, soft, crunchy, or gooey? What are the tastes that you are getting from the food? What is the temperature of the food? This is an easy way to bring mindfulness into your daily routine.
Focusing on Hands
This is another mindfulness tool that can be used almost anywhere. For this practice all you must do is look at your hands. Really dive your focus in them. What color are they? Where are all the lines? What is the texture of your skin? Are your hands warm or cool? Are you wearing any jewelry? What do your nails look like? Take the time to really examine your hands. This tool can really help when you feel like your emotions are more than you can handle or when you feel outside of your body. Being present with your hands can bring calmness and also feel connected back with your body.
Another tool that’s easy to implement into your daily routine is being present when you are walking. This works best when you are barefoot, but you can also do it with socks or shoes on. As you start walking pay attention to the feelings happening. Take slow steps and feel where the soles of your feet touch the ground. What does the ground feel like? Is it carpet, wood, tile, grass, or cement? How do your legs feel when each foot touches the ground? Now step harder with one foot and notices the changes in your body. Count your steps as you walk and notice what comes to you.
When you find your emotions are stronger than you can tolerate you can use these tools to draw you to the present. Thus, allowing you to emotionally regulate and bring your body back to center. Mindfulness is a practice that does require you to maintain the practice to see results in your long-term mental health. Speak to your therapist about it for more tips and tools.