‘If I hear anyone mention mindfulness one more time…’ Sound familiar? We hear you. From colouring books to meditation apps, there is a LOT of hype about mindfulness these days. Basically, ‘being mindful’ means paying attention to the present moment. It’s a simple idea, but it’s not always easy to put into practice. If you're wondering how to be mindful and want ways to be mindful, read on.
Why is mindfulness a thing?
There’s a lot of evidence that mindfulness can help you to be more aware of yourself and your environment, cope better with stress, anxiety and depression, focus your concentration and relax more. There’s more info on the benefits of mindfulness here. On board? Not sure? Bear with us...
1. Wash the dishes (Yes, really!)
No, your mum hasn’t hacked our site; this is legit. When you wash the dishes after dinner, do you usually think about everything you still have to do before you can finally relax? Instead, could you try focusing only on washing the dishes? Start by listening to the sink fill up with water. Feel the warm water on your hands, and smell the dishwashing liquid. When you notice your mind wandering (and it will!), bring your attention back to your senses. What can you see/hear/smell/feel? If you just can’t get on board with dishes, read on...
2. Write a 'thank you' list
Is ‘gratitude’ another one of those words that make you squirm? If so, think of it as a ‘thank you’ list. Writing a thank you list is one way to slow down and appreciate the small (and big) things in your life. It doesn’t need to be massively long; you could just write down three things you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s the delicious coffee you had this morning, the support and love you get from your friends, or your courage in speaking up for yourself the other day.
Make it your mission to write three things in a thank you note every day!
3. Have a quick stretch
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our thoughts that we forget everything else. But when we take a moment to focus on our body, such as by doing some stretching exercises, it gives us a break from our headspace.
Here's some examples of stretches to try. Take your time, and focus on how your body feels.
4. Eat a snack
You’re probably wondering how eating a snack can be mindful, right? The best place to start is by focusing on what you’re eating, rather than on your thoughts (or the Netflix show you’re watching). So, instead of mindlessly eating that bag of popcorn and then wondering where it all went, take your time and pay attention to every mouthful. Notice the delicious taste as you chew the food, feel the textures, savour the aroma. It helps to put down your phone while you eat, too.
More information on mindful eating can be found here.
5. Make a cup of tea
Who doesn’t love a good cuppa? Brewing and enjoying a cup of tea is another great way of getting in touch with your senses. You might usually make a cup of tea without even thinking about it. Instead of just going through the motions, pay attention to each thing you do n order to make the tea.
While you might not have harvested and dried the tea leaves yourself, you can appreciate that someone, somewhere, has done this. Then there’s the action of putting the tea bag or leaves into a cup or teapot, adding the boiling water and letting it brew. Once you’ve gone through all the steps of making it, hold the cup in your hands and feel the warmth. Enjoy the sensation of taking a moment out of your day to make and enjoy a simple cuppa.