Implementing mindfulness in your daily life may be easier than you think. Meaningful changes occur in our brain’s chemistry with regular mind training.
It’s proven that when we practice mindfulness daily for around 27 minutes, the gray matter density in our brain increases! Isn’t that amazing?
If you feel like 27 minutes every day is a lot to dedicate, even little breaks from your default mode of operation could significantly improve your day. In default mode, your brain is scattered between thoughts, ideas, the past, the future and even the pop song you’ve just heard while going about your daily business! You may think that you are the only one living with that crazy monster in your head. That’s not true.
Thankfully, there are lots of techniques you can apply every day to improve your ability to focus on the present moment.
With these techniques, you change your relationship with the mind instead of trying to change how the mind is. Shifting your focus to an object and anchoring yourself there allows you to remain still – no matter the general state of your thoughts.
Regular practice of giving attention to what is happening in the “now” may reduce stress, help fight depression & fatigue, improve your mood and support mental & emotional resilience.
Some of these techniques can easily be applied in a quick way to save the day. You can use your favorite(s) everyday for 5-15 minutes or apply a combination of them according to your needs.
Focusing on Your Breath
Sit in a comfortable position. Keep your spine tall and relaxed. Be careful not to be too tight in your posture, but remain alert and awake. Keeping your eyes either open or closed, start to observe the physical aspects of your breath. How deep or fast is it today?
Do you tend to hold tension in your jaw, belly or hips? Just allow the breath to flow within your body without doing anything special. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. Your intention must be to observe whatever it is and be consistent. If you realize that you start to follow your scattered thoughts, just bring your attention to breath.
Don’t forget, though, that you’re not trying to stop the thoughts – fighting them will only create more resistance and more mental activity.
Instead of observing your breath, you can anchor your attention on your body. Sit in a comfortable position and start to look through your body internally. Bring your attention to your body parts one by one, starting either from your head or your toes.
For example; start observing your toes, feet and ankles. Realize what kind of feelings and senses are present. Maybe the feeling of the floor or the touching of your socks… Move forward to your legs, knees and so on. You can do a quick scan or you can do a full practice of around 25 minutes. You can also use online guided body scan practices, such as this one.
Pick Reminder Signs for Mindfulness
Condition yourself to remember your breath and be present in the moment. It’s simple: pick an action or an object as your reminder. Whenever you do a certain act or see that object, remember your breath and focus on it for a couple of minutes.
For example, whenever you take a small break from work to get some coffee, take a 3-5 minutes mindfulness break. Put away distractions and observe your body.
Or you can say something like: “Whenever I see a red car today, I will check in with my breath.”
Just as with your physical senses or the movement of the breath, you can choose your sensory inputs as your object of focus.
Try to focus on what you see, what you hear, or what you feel on your skin for a couple of minutes. Try not to analyze what you see, focus on being in the state of “seeing” only. For example, when you see a green tree, don’t just tag it as a green tree but try to see it as something you’re seeing for the first time – not something you need to classify. Just be aware of how it feels to receive that sensory infput through your eyes, your ears and so on.
Even a couple of minutes of orienting yourself in the moment with 5 senses can calm down your nervous system and carry you into a meditative state!
For this practice you focus only on what you hear. Pick your favorite song, a sound of a certain frequency, or a classical symphony and start listening to it. Put on your earphones and give all your attention to the music.
Put away all your thoughts and be present in this sound with all your mind, feelings and senses – as if you’re going on a date with this sound and want to know everything about it!
As you can see, the tools you need for mindfulness are all around you, and even more importantly, they are inside you. Use these tips to begin a practice of mindfulness. Be persistent, and soon these practices will become positive and life-enhancing habits.
Author Hümeyra Cengiz is one of the select HॐlloYogaWorld Sacral Chakra Team members who holds an Orange Yoga World NFT Passport, and she is featured in the image above. Follow her on Instagram @humcengiz. To join our Passport pre-sale, join us in Discord by clicking here.