5 Mindfulness Practices
Mindfulness is a state of being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without judgement. This brings attention to one’s feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations. There are two components of mindfulness, awareness and acceptance. Mindfulness awareness aims to be present with your thoughts, feelings, and senses instead of becoming consumed by them. Mindful acceptance involves viewing your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in a nonjudgmental manner. For example, if you recognize you are feeling upset, state to yourself: “I recognize that I am feeling upset”, and don’t try to change or judge this feeling.
Practicing mindfulness has many benefits for overall health and psychological well-
being. Individuals who practice mindfulness have reduced emotional exhaustion and improved job satisfaction (Hülsheger et al., 2013). Some other benefits of mindfulness include reduced depression and anxiety, improved memory, reduced stress levels, improved emotion regulation, reduced rumination, and greater relationship satisfaction. Here are some examples of how to integrate mindfulness into your everyday life:
Mindfulness Meditation: Pick a quiet place free of distractions. Be present with your
body and pay attention to your breathing, focusing on each breath as it enters and exits your
body. Your mind may starts to wander, or you may feel bored or frustrated – that’s okay. Notice where your thoughts are going and the way you are feeling and accept it for what it is. Try to return your attention to your breathing when possible.
Body Scan: Pay close attention to the physical sensations throughout your body. Notice
sensations such as warmth, tension, stiffness, pain, and pressure. Start with your feet, then slowly move up your body to your legs, pelvis, stomach, chest, back, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and finally up to your head. Begin moving back down your body until you reach your feet again. Try to focus on each body part for 15 seconds at first, then gradually increase to a minute when you are comfortable.
Five Senses: Focus on the following senses to practice mindfulness. This exercise can
also be helpful as a grounding technique.
5 things you can see.
4 things you can feel.
3 things you can hear.
2 things you can smell.
1 thing you can taste.
Mindfulness Walk: Go take a walk outside. Notice how your body feels with each step,
feeling the bottom of your feet as they touch the ground. After paying attention to your body, begin to shift your focus to your surroundings. How is the temperature outside? Is it hot or cold? Is there a breeze or is the air still? Focus on your five senses – What do you see, feel, hear, smell, and taste?
Mindful Eating: Choose a food that you enjoy (preferably something that is not messy).
This could be something as simple as a grape. Observe the food in front of you. Pay attention to its color, shape, and size. Now, pick up the food. Notice it’s texture, how it feels on your skin, and how heavy it is. Place the food in your mouth, but don’t eat it yet. Notice how it feels in your mouth and compare it to how it felt in your hand. Finally, begin to chew and swallow your food. Pay attention to the texture changes when you begin chewing. Notice how your body reacts when you chew your food- does your mouth feel hot or cold? Pay attention to as many sensations as possible before you finish eating.
Alyssa Wence is a Mental Health Counselor Student Intern at Cypress Wellness Center. She works with children (ages 6 and up), teens, adults, couples and families. She has experience working with mental health crises and with clients with a variety of struggles such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Click here to schedule an appointment.