Got a Moment? Use It to Be Mindful
By Sandy Schroeder
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that concentrates completely on the present moment. Enjoy how the breeze feels as you walk to the park, or how a bite of fish tastes at dinner. The goal of mindfulness is to move your thoughts away from the usual worries or obsessions to let you feel life in the moment to get a bigger look at it.
Open Up to Life
HarvardHealth says we may be healthier mentally and physically if we practice mindfulness. Our attitudes and actions may be more balanced and effective. I have done a version of mindfulness on my patio for a while, and it definitely helps to move me away from the daily demands. Later, I am more thoughtful and more purposeful. Things just come together better.
Two Ways to Do Mindfulness
Choose the basic approach or use it in a more relaxed way.
Formal Mindfulness Meditation
- Sit cross-legged on the floor or in a straight-back chair
- Concentrate on your breath as the air goes in and out of your nose and mouth, or your belly moves up and down with your breath
- Observe the sensations, sounds and thoughts around you
- Accept each thought or sensation without judging it as bad or good; if your mind strays, refocus on your breath and return to the sensations.
Informal Mindfulness of Everyday Things
Use mindfulness simultaneously with life tasks such as showering, eating, walking or playing with a pet.
- Begin by concentrating on the sensations in your body
- Breathe in through the nose with air moving into the belly. Breathe out through the mouth; focus on each breath.
- Go ahead with what you are doing, focusing on the moment, as you pet the cat or eat a favorite food.
- Absorb each sight, texture and sound with all of your senses
- If your mind strays, bring your focus back to the sensations of the moment
If these mindfulness approaches work for you, here are some more ways to make it a part of your day.
End the day with a guided meditation - Choose from ones available through UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, the Chopra Center, Meditation Oasis or Headspace.
Take a breath break any time - Use 10 to 15 minutes to just concentrate on your breath. Find a quiet spot. Close your eyes and notice where your body feels stressed. Send your breath to that spot to ease the tension.
Do a body scan - Lie down or find a quiet spot to sit. Close your eyes and breathe deeply as you focus on individual parts of the body, moving over knees, thighs, hips, lower back, abdomen, chest, upper back, neck, shoulders and head. Pay attention to each one absorbing how it feels.
If mindfulness works for you, use the practice three or four times a week to let it take root. A daily schedule is really ideal if you can make it part of each day.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Monrovia, Calif.