What is Mindfulness?
mind· ful· ness
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations; used as a therapeutic technique.
Ways to Practice Mindfulness
At ISF, we like to think of mindfulness as a moment to reflect on our positive thoughts, feelings, and our surrounding environment. Whether it be during yoga, a walk through the park, or at class, you can practice mindfulness just about anywhere. Below are five simple ways to get you started.
1. Focus on sound.
Use a singing bowl, bell, or even a phone app that has sounds on it -use one of these items to make a lasting sound. Once the sound has been made, concentrate and listen carefully until you can no longer hear the sound (30 seconds to a minute). Mastering this technique will teach you to be more alert in your surroundings.
2. Pay attention to your breath.
You can do this by yourself or find a breathing buddy like a stuffed animal for instance. Lie down on your back and put your stuffed animal on your belly. When you breathe in and out, watch the rise and fall of your breathing buddy and take a few minutes to listen to the sound of each breath.
3. Practice gratitude.
2016 is the "year of gratitude", so there's no better time to think about what you are grateful for. Take a few minutes, close your eyes, and picture five to ten things you are truly grateful for.
4. Make mindfulness a bedtime ritual.
Do you ever have trouble getting to sleep? Practicing mindfulness before bed can be a lot more fun than counting sheep (even though we love sheep). Turn your attention to counting your breath or the sounds around you like the noise of passing traffic, a fan, or even a ticking clock. Count as many different sounds as you can until you fall asleep.
5. Take mindful walks.
Find a park, a river, or even a green area (if you live in a city), where you can zone in on all of your surroundings. For two minutes, remain completely silent and concentrate on the sounds of running water, a woodpecker, a dog bark, or even the footsteps of people walking by. This moment of mindfulness will reveal things you may not have noticed on your walks before.
WATCH: Kids just like you are talking about mindfulness.
We'll leave you with this inspirational message from Laura Colman, MOB Advisor at ISF:
"Mindfulness gives me the opportunity to be more aware of everyday situations. It makes me feel more grateful for the things that we often take for granted. Mindfulness is one of my tools to deal with stress. When I feel stressed, I breathe 'mindful'. My breath is something I always carry with me, wherever I am, so I can rely on it whenever I need it. By becoming aware of my breath, I find my inner peace back and the rest in my head returns."
Are there any ways you practice mindfulness that you'd like to share with us? Reach out on social media or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Ashlea Greene
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Video by: Mindful Aotearoa
Photo by: Katie Mobley