Practising Daily Mindfulness Informally
Introduction to Why Informal Mindfulness May Benefit You
Have you ever been busy trying to do several things at the same time and realise that you have not been able to do anything? When constantly trying to multitask it can be difficult to focus on anything. This is a habit that many of us at some time or other can find ourselves becoming lost in what we are doing?
This is where informal mindfulness can be incorporated in order to give you a greater sense of being. This will enable you not only to be more present in the moment but may give you an understanding on what you are trying to accomplish at present. Obviously, going on auto pilot can be useful as there are many things we may need to do where this can actually be beneficial. Imagine having to think about driving a long trailer and having to think about everything you do in such great depth that everything becomes more stressful. Reflex actions such as when you step on a sharp pin, you want to draw your foot away from it as soon as possible.
However, there are benefits to being mindful in the present as by doing this we can enjoy more of moments in our life, instead of being stuck in a constant puzzle of thoughts.
Informal mindfulness can be practiced as part of your daily routine. For maximum benefit it is recommended to practice informal mindfulness in conjunction with proper formal methods of mindfulness.
Typical formal methods of mindfulness meditation include:
- Awareness of breath meditation - focusing on the where the breathe sits while meditating.
- Body scan meditation - scanning the body for tension.
Things You Can Do That Add Informal Mindfulness To Your Daily Life:
- When brushing your teeth you can pay close attention to this. As an experiment you can try brushing your teeth with your weaker hand. Notice how this makes you be more mindful on how you brush your teeth. Be more mindful of how you are brushing your teeth rather than simply doing it on an auto-pilot mode.
- Try sitting somewhere different and be aware of the different view or the seat you are in.
- Try walking on a slightly different way to work. This can make your mind more aware of where you are going as simply taking the exact same route all the time can mean you are on auto pilot. Sometimes it may be useful to mix things up in order to be more mindful.
- When washing the dishes try to pay attention and be mindful of what you are doing. By being more aware of your actions you will feel present in the moment. There is a notable difference and you will feel it.
Practicing Informal Mindfulness
By incorporating informal mindfulness you may find it easier to practice more formal methods of mindfulness. Another reason why informal mindfulness is a useful practice is because it can be incorporated into your daily life with little effort. It is not very time consuming and makes you develop a greater focus and sense of attention.
General Benefits of Mindfulness
- Improved focus and awareness. By being more present and in the moment you are able to actually make best use of more time in your life. You can live more of your life being self aware about what is happening around you and create stronger memories.
- Improved immune system function - There are numerous scientific studies that have shown that overall immunity to fight infections and other illnesses is strengthened through the regular practice of mindfulness.
- Helps to improve overall wellbeing with individuals with mental illness including a reduction in symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Mindfulness may also be helpful in Schizophrenia, eating disorders and addiction. Before practicing mindfulness if you have some defined mental illness it may be best to check with your doctor or general practitioner or whoever is responsible for your care to ensure you can practice safely. In rare cases it can make symptoms worse.
- Helps to make you aware of your thought patterns so you can effectively address things like cognitive distortions. When used in conjunction with yoga or other formal therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, you can overcome certain cognitive distortions. A cognitive distortion is simply an incorrect belief system such as mind reading. You may be in a tendency to always think what others are thinking of you. By being aware of these thoughts you can make the necessary thought pattern changes and enjoy greater peace of mind as a result.
- Try to practice informal mindfulness fairly regularly as by doing this you will see greater benefits.
- Combine informal mindfulness with more formal mindfulness techniques such as aware of breath meditation and body scan meditation.
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