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Daily Mindfulness : 5 Unexpected Ways to Practice Mindfulness Everyday
As women, it’s so hard to find moments of quiet reflection and meditation. It seems like every second of the day is jam-packed with deadlines at work, appointments to make, meals to prepare, or tiny little shoes to tie. Though we lead beautiful daily lives, it’s natural to feel the quiet beckon to us. When we hear that need for stillness calling out to us, however, rarely do we get a chance to answer it. Instead, we are far too busy getting things done, worrying about the future (and the past), or checking our social media profiles to take a few minutes to be alone with ourselves. That simply has to change.
Mind Over Matter
Research shows that carving out quiet time can actually make a big difference in our overall health and longevity. One study published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging says practicing mindfulness meditation appears to show measurable changes in the brain regions involved in memory, learning, and emotion. Mindfulness is the process of calming your mind and body to feel thoughts in a non-judgmental way, always focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness, which has roots in Buddhist meditation practices, is currently being used to help treat patients who are suffering from depression and anxiety, among other conditions. So if this process works so well at helping our mind and body focus in the present moment, why can’t we find time to do it each day?
We know just how busy you are, so we’ve compiled five easy ways you can find some quiet time in your everyday moments. Here’s how to find your Zen and keep it.
1. Morning Stretch-As you begin to wake up each day, take five extra minutes to lay in bed before you get up. Stretch each part of your body starting with your toes all the way up to the hair on your head. Focus in on the way each body part moves, breathe deeply and give each muscle time to really extend. Get rid of all your other thoughts except the feeling of how your body stretches and moves.
2. Clear Your Mind for Coffee -Whether it comes from a pod or press, most of us begin our mornings with coffee! While the coffee pours out into our cup. we often find ourselves standing there tapping our feet and chanting, “hurry, hurry, hurry” OR finding a way to multitask while our cup is being filled! Instead of willing your coffee maker to spit it out already, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and listen to the sound of the machine as it pours. Take a minute to meditate on the exact present moment, take in the sounds and smells of what’s happening in those few seconds of nothingness- WITHOUT worrying about your busy agenda to follow. It’s really bliss and will instill a sense of calm in your morning. The same works for the toaster as well!
3. Unplug. Okay, this is for real. We are all on social media too much and the constant “keeping up with the Joneses”. We want our house to look like a Chip & Joanna Fixer Upper, we want to be funny like Chrissy Teigen, and we want, and we want a butt like Beyonce. There’s only one Beyonce, so our time is better spent living in the present moment than pining over how many squats it will take to get that booty or how many pieces of shiplap it will take our husbands to put up before they look at us the way Chip looks at Jo? Do you feel me here? So, instead, give yourself only one hour a day to be on social media. You can even set an alarm to warn you when you’re close to time. Just doing so will clear up like a few hours, and allow you to be more present in YOUR life and the present moment. Think of all the things you can squeeze in now with all that new free time. You’re welcome!
4. Lunch Bunch. Even if you have only a 30-minute lunch break, it’s will give your afternoon transformative energy if you spend the last five minutes of that break in quiet reflection. Find a quiet spot, whether in the bathroom or in your car, or even at your desk. Close your eyes, firmly place your feet on the floor to ground yourself, and get ready to focus on your breathing. Set your alarm and practice breathing in deep for five minutes. Push away thoughts about the remaining items on your to do list, and try to focus instead on the way your air enters and leaves your body. You’ll feel renewed for the rest of your day!
5. Blissful Bath. Whether you take a shower or a bath each day, it’s the perfect time to practice mindfulness. Clear your head of thoughts of the past or future and focus instead on the feel of the water. Listen as it pours out. Feel how it feels on your body or in your hand. Feel the lightness of it. The warmth. If you have any thoughts that creep in, watch them fall over the water like a barrel going over Niagara. While you wash, allow yourself to wash away nagging thoughts as well.
You see! It’s possible to feel refreshed and renewed in only a few minutes each day. There really are more moments available in your day than you ever even knew possible. You’ve just got to reframe the way you use those moments.