Mindfulness might sound complicated, but it’s anything but. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment intentionally in a curious and nonjudgmental way.
Mindfulness has been linked to many health benefits. According to research published by the American Psychological Association, practicing mindfulness helps reduce stress, boost memory and improve communication skills.
You don’t need hours of free time to practice mindfulness, either. Try these five simple ideas to add more mindfulness to your day.
Transform Simple Activities
You can practice mindfulness throughout your day. For example, while washing dishes, focus on the temperature and sound of the water while breathing deeply and letting all other thoughts go. While brushing your teeth, focus on how it feels as you slowly glide your toothbrush across your teeth. Block out all distractions, and just breathe slowly and deeply.
Spend Time in Nature
Going outside is one of the best ways to get into mindfulness. You don’t need to go far either, because even your local park or neighborhood green space can be extremely beneficial. Try a walking meditation, in which you literally stop and smell the roses, noticing all the natural details along the way, like leaves fluttering, birds singing, water rushing and clouds drifting through the sky. Notice the feel of your feet gently stepping onto the ground.
Ours minds often gravitate toward what’s wrong in our lives. But it’s extremely beneficial to focus on all the ways the glass is half full rather than half empty. Practice being grateful every day by bringing to mind all the things you’re thankful for, no matter how small. To further reinforce these thoughts, say them out loud or list them on paper in a gratitude journal.
Try Gadget-Free Nights
Wind down and get into mindfulness during the evenings by shutting off electronic devices a few hours before bedtime. Enjoy a low-tech hobby like sewing, drawing, cooking or playing a musical instrument. Totally immerse yourself into this activity, and allow your mind to clear out negative or stressful thoughts. Focus on the joy you experience when you do something you truly love.
Listen to Relaxing Music
Really and truly listen to musical compositions either in recordings or live performances. Classical music or other instrumental pieces are great places to start. Listen to all the different musical sections, such as strings, woodwinds and percussion. Notice the variations throughout each piece.
Mindfulness is wonderful in its ability to reduce stress and create more peace. As you focus on the present moment, you allow tension to melt away, and ultimately help to improve your health.
How do you practice mindfulness? Let us know by commenting below.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.