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Mindfulness Practice Tips

Updated on January 15, 2023
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Cygnet Brown is a high school and middle school substitute teacher. She is the author of fourteen books and a long-time gardener.

The Blessing of Living in the Moment

Have you ever taken the time to sit and watch a baby playing with his hands? That baby spends a long time just staring at them and marveling at the wonder of how intricate those hands are. With every sense, the child investigates those hands. He looks at it and investigates every line. He listens as he rubs his hands together. He feels the touch of one hand against the other. He smells his hand's baby soft smell from the baby wash that his mother used on him just a little while earlier. He puts his fist into his mouth, savoring how the hand interacts with the taste buds in his mouth. This is mindfulness at its core.

As a creative person, every day, I try to practice living in the moment like the baby of the previous paragraph. I embrace those moments where I can let go of the past and let go of the future and simply exist. I am only aware of what I am doing in the present. I am totally aware of this present. That is what many call being in the flow. It is also an aspect of being mindful.

Becoming as Mindful as a Newborn

I first discovered mindfulness quite by accident. I remember holding my two-month-old son and noticing that he was not looking into my face. Instead, he was looking at something in the corner of the room. I looked in the direction in which his eyes were focused and noticed that his attention was drawn to a shadow in the corner. I realized at that moment that because he was a newborn, everything in the room was new to him. To him, the shadow was interesting because it had a shape that he found interesting. For the first time in my adult life, I took the time to observe the way the light played off the corner and made the shadows. For a few moments, we both marveled at the shape of the corner and the movement of the shadow. This was my first lesson in mindfulness.

Jon Kabt-Zinn

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply accepting what “is”. Mindfulness is being aware of our thoughts, feelings, body sensitivities, and surrounding environment and not judging while we are being aware. To be mindful, our minds are focused on our present situation rather than allowing ourselves to drift into remembering the past or daydreaming about the future. Mindfulness doesn't judge. It simply recognizes what is.

The science of mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation but has become a recent tool for decreasing stress, and improving physical health, mental health, and social connection in every area of society. In addition, evidence shows that the practice builds immunity against infection, and decreases the need for many medications. It improves brain function including our focus. It makes us more compassionate, and it helps us become better parents. It is one of the key principles of meditation. I use mindfulness to help me become more creative.

Mindfulness is helping me become a better writer. In addition, it is helping me in my fight against obesity. “Mindful eating” is helping me develop healthier eating habits by helping me in my awareness and enjoyment of the food that I am eating.

Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Day

  • Make it a point to find ways to practice mindfulness during events in your everyday life. The more you practice, the more likely it will become second nature.
  • While you are practicing mindfulness, focus on what is going on inside you and around you. If your mind drifts to something from your past or you start thinking about the future, recognize the thought, accept it and let it go.
  • Be mindful of your breathing, and notice how you feel emotionally.
  • Notice with all of your senses--sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
  • Allow yourself to acknowledge any negative feelings, accept them and let them go. Do not dwell on them. Recognize that they will pass.
  • Allow yourself to tune into your body, especially during moments when you are alone. Take a couple of moments while in the shower to feel the water washing over your skin. Feel how it feels to be sitting in your car before heading to work.
  • When you lay down to sleep, focus your attention on your body beginning at your toes, and be aware and accepting of your sense of this part of your body, without changing those feelings.
  • When you sit down to eat, intentionally feel your utensil (spoon or fork) in your hand. begin with that first bite of food, pick it up from your plate observe it using every detail. Smell the contents on your utensil. put the bite of food in your mouth. Taste the food on your tongue and then consciously chew your food. Continue with your meal until you are satiated.
  • When you go out for a walk, focus on your body movement, and feel your feet moving across the ground. After a few minutes, begin to focus on your surroundings. Notice the sights, smells, and sounds around you.
  • Practice loving feelings toward everyone around you. Feel love toward your family members, feel compassionate toward acquaintances, feel compassionate toward the crying baby on the plane or the child throwing the tantrum in the grocery store.

Be Mindful Daily

Days can go by without us ever really being mindful of that day. Isn't it time that we pay attention to our physical surroundings. Isn't it time that we thought about what we are thinking and feeling. Isn't it time that we learned to actively love. Isn't it time for us to become mindful?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Cygnet Brown


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