3 Signs You Practice Mindfulness
We’ve all heard of the not so new craze of Mindfulness, but what exactly is it? Some say it’s like doing yoga, but with your mind. Others refer to it as practicing meditation but in a different way. As it turns out, it’s a bit of both.
A clear cut definition of mindfulness could go something like this:
“Paying attention to your thoughts without adding any judgement to them, and accepting them as they are, or at least becoming aware of them—in the present moment.”
As it turns out, we do this all the time! Believe it or not, most of us have the mental tools to achieve mindfulness already, so I’ve listed 3 signs in particular that you might already be doing—and steps for those who are interested in starting. And if you’re curious as to what mindfulness is even for, here’s a short list:
By now you’re probably wondering what 3 things you already do to help with items that might be on this list. Let’s find out.
You’ve already learned that mindfulness is being aware of what’s going on within yourself presently, but what exactly does that mean? Many mindfulness gurus have suggested that people who intentionally decide to stop for 5-10 minutes a day to smell the roses, are in fact being mindful. In other words, if you’ve ever had moments to “take a breather” or “go for a walk to clear your mind,” chances are you are practicing this technique.
Another way to look at it is when you’re eating meals. Let’s call it mindful eating. If you’ve ever taken a moment to really use all your senses while eating, then you’re probably being mindful. Next time you eat something, take you’re time and take in the moment of the smell, taste, texture, touch and even what it looks like. This is the power of mindfulness from staying present. You’re intentionally deciding to forget the past and future for a moment to enjoy what’s really going on in the present.
This one can be a bit tricky. When I say allowance, I mean that you are doing your best to let your mind “free flow” without having to control it. You’re allowing your thoughts to come and go as they please, aware enough of what the thoughts are saying, but have no reason to hold on to them—and letting them go—there’s not commitment. I would say this one was the hardest in my journey toward wellness, but I’ve got a little trick that I practice. And if you’re already doing this, then maybe you can add this tool to your toolbox.
Imagine for a moment that all your thoughts are like cars on a freeway. Each car is carrying a different thought. Some are good, some are bad, and others are pretty much neutral. Now picture these thoughts driving back and forth, passing as they please, no matter how fast or how slow. Lastly, try and allow them to keep on cruising along until you notice that they aren’t as intimidating anymore—and let them drive off into the sunset as they disappear. Practice makes progress here. No need for perfection.
Because mindfulness is well known for being present, that means one would have to also be aware of what’s going on in the present. You’ve just read about how to mindful within your mind, but it’s also important to listen to your body, too. And hey, you might even be doing this already on a daily basis. It’s call body scanning.
Have you ever sat in a comfortable position for awhile and then realized how comfortable your body really is? Like you take a mental note of how relaxed you really are. Chances are that you’re already good at scanning your body in the present moment. But, if you’re curious as to what this means, give this a try.
Take a moment and get in a relaxed position. Close your eyes and imagine a halo over your body. Pick what color that halo is and begin having it scan from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. As you’re scanning your body I want you to ask yourself what you notice. Notice what’s going on with your torso, arms, legs and feet—or somewhere else. Maybe you’ll notice warmth, a chill, pain or relaxation. Once your halo reaches the bottom of your feet, bring it back up and scan one more time. Once it reaches the top of your head, you can open your eyes and chances are, you may be more relaxed than you started, or more mindful of what’s going on in your body.
Mindfulness is a journey in itself, so take your time with it. The point is not to rush or overthink it. Just attempting to stay present is a great start.