We dare you to feel and experience this very moment. Disconnect and go inside yourself. Mindfulness exercises such as these are basically the moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings and this revolutionary new practice is helping our stressed out culture find peace. UCLA Health medical research has shown that practicing mindfulness can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and help with anxiety and depression. This simple daily practice can foster over all well-being and can help you experience less emotional reactivity. Ultimately, it is a soothing way to keep our brains healthy and protect ourselves from toxic stress.
Ellen Langer, a Harvard University professor and expert in mindfulness research, has found that mindfulness can also help leaders reframe potential crises and be better managers, a skill set we can also apply to our personal lives. “Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. [It] helps you realize that there are no positive or negative outcomes,” said Langer in a Harvard Business Review interview. “There’s A, B, C, D, and more, each with its challenges and opportunities…You can be mindful, you can be mindless. You can win, you can lose. The worst case is to be mindless and lose. So when you’re doing anything, be mindful, notice new things, make it meaningful to you, and you’ll prosper.” Here are 8 simple ways to promote a little mindfulness training for yourself each day.
1. Get Seated, Settled and Relax As you prepare to meditate, your mind may still be caught up in a hundred thoughts. Acknowledge those thoughts that come into your awareness and then refocus on getting comfortable and leaving them behind.
2. Follow Your Breath In and Out This is one of the most basic mindfulness exercises there is. It’s so easy to do, you can do it anywhere. Feeling a stress coming on? Close your eyes. Breathe in and out. Be aware of the act. Breathe, that’s it.
3. Stay Present in the Happy Moment Often we have a hard time staying present with happiness. We try and turn it into something we’re more familiar with, like the worrying. Hold on to it, keep it from fading away.
4. One Thing at a Time Do you want to be stress free and happier? Forget about multitasking. Paying attention to one thing will help you achieve your goals. Listen to the Zen proverb that says: When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
5. Be Compassionate Does someone you know seem to need some cheering up? Show compassion, not only will it help you not be afraid of difficult emotions, it will help you face your own needs and help others in return.
6. Practice Gratitude Identify one thing that you have learned when faced with a challenge and be grateful. Combing gratitude and mindfulness can lead to awareness. Each day we are given unexpected challenges to deal with and grow from.
7. Eat Slowly Mindfulness training extends to the kitchen. Binge eaters do not practice mindfulness because they are too caught up in blindly stuffing their face. Savor your food, and chew your mouthfuls slowly. You will eat less and digest your food better.
8. Your Transparent Thoughts When you are with colleagues, family or strangers, imagine people can see your thoughts. If they could, you wouldn’t think those awful things. Rid yourself of those thoughts, they are transient.