Easy tips to practise mindfulness and find your calm every day
Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular at the moment – and with good reason! In a world where there is so much doom and gloom, and with the colder and darker months setting in, it’s becoming more important than ever that we take time each and every day to look after our minds.
For the unacquainted, mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening in the current moment, without judgement, both within our thoughts, bodies and the world around us. It encourages us to create a natural curiosity about what we are feeling in the current moment, good or bad. To learn to sit with that feeling without the need to make changes, purely to acknowledge and learn to just be. Mindfulness can help us to reduce stress, anxiety and burnout and live a more focused and purposeful life.
When we learn to become more present and notice life as it is happening to us, we can become more grateful for what we have, right now, in the present moment. This in turn, can spread calm throughout your day. The more time you allow yourself to be in the present, the less time will be spent worrying about the past or the future. In this blog I will be sharing five easy ways to practise mindfulness and find your calm, every day.
1. Focus on your breath
The best and easiest place to start when practising mindfulness is with your breath. Sit somewhere comfortable with your feet on the ground and your hands resting on your stomach. Close your eyes if it helps you to stay undistracted by the world around you – although this isn’t necessary if you would rather keep them open.
Begin by noticing how your body is feeling, whether you have any aches or pains. Pay attention to any thoughts that come to mind and allow them to drift off again. Now focus inwards to your breath. Take a nice deep inhalation through your nose, then out again through your mouth. Notice how the breath feels and whether there are any changes in your body. Keep repeating the breath – in… and out… patience is key here. Remember that thoughts will come and go and that is fine. This is a non-judgement zone, this is all about turning your attention inward to how you are feeling right now, here in this moment. Then, whenever you’re ready – open your eyes, shake out your hands and arms, wriggle your toes and go on with your day.
2. Mindful colouring
This is a lovely, creative way to spend a mindful evening or Sunday afternoon. There are lots of brilliant adult colouring books out there, any will do! Remember to notice when you are colouring how your body feels, the spread of your breath, how the pencil feels in your hand as it glides across the paper. It is a brilliant way to lose yourself and be completely focused on the task in hand. Not to mention the benefits that the positive energy the creativity brings as you colour.
3. Power of Three
This is a great technique to use when feeling stressed, panicked or overwhelmed. It is quick, simple and centres your mind when you feel it might be spiralling. So, to begin, look around and name three things you can see, then three things you can hear. Once you have those, turn your focus to your body and name and touch three parts of your body.
4. Everyday mindfulness
Remember, mindfulness is all about focusing your attention on the present moment. These can be smells, tastes, touch, sounds, thoughts. A great way to begin becoming more mindful in your everyday is to apply it to the slightly more mundane tasks. The tasks you might normally zone out of or daydream through. Here are some activities you can try this with:
- Brushing your teeth
- Getting dressed
- Making a cup of tea or coffee
- Having a shower
- Washing the dishes
These are all activities that are normally done without thought, so the challenge here is to become really intentional with the action. Take brushing your teeth, for example. Notice how the brush against your teeth feels, the curve of the brush in your hand, the feeling of the toothpaste as it froths up in your mouth, the taste of the toothpaste, the smell of the minty freshness. Zone in on the sound of the toothbrush moving back and forth, notice as you move from one tooth to another, how does it make you feel? It might feel a little silly at first, but the more you focus your attention inward, the more you might notice things you haven’t before. This is all about training your mind to focus in on what is happening right now, in this moment. Not about what you’re going to have for lunch or worrying about that meeting you have later. Just allowing yourself to be in this moment.
5. Body Scan
This is a lovely exercise that has huge benefits of relaxation which will leave you feeling energised and ready for the day ahead.
To begin, lie down on the floor on your back with your arms and legs straight. Start by noticing your breath and acknowledge any thoughts that come and go. Then, starting with your toes, start to move your focus through each and every body part. Notice how each part feels, whether there are any aches or pains or pleasant feelings as you scan up through your feet, your calves, your knees, your thighs. Notice if any parts of your body feel particularly heavy or light, how the floor feels beneath you, warm or cool, the texture of the clothing on your body. Keep going up through your stomach, your chest, shoulders, down each arm, through to the finger tips, up through your neck and into your face, jaw, forehead. Notice if any muscles feel tight or relaxed, whether they change as you notice them.
Then, whenever you’re ready, you can sit up and see how you feel.
Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment. The more you practise these techniques, the more you might find yourself becoming more mindful in new situations. Remember, as Sharon Saltzberg says “mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.”
Lili Sinclair-Williams is the Founder of the wellbeing brand LSW London.
LSW London’s mission is to create beautiful, effective products that help people live with intention. With a focus on creating healthy habits each day, their Mind Cards, journals and stationery are designed to positively impact mental health, wellbeing and self-care.