Mindfulness is a new buzz word almost everywhere! Just what is mindfulness and how can it benefit us in our everyday life? The definition of mindfulness is being present in the moment, in the now, and experiencing all the senses in this moment in time. It is not thinking about the past, nor delving into the future, but savoring or tolerating the present time we are in. It is watching and observing the body, mind and spirit at any given time.
Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again. ~Joseph Campbell
Mindfulness practices have their roots in ancient times, stemming for the teachings of Buddha as well as the early Christian “desert fathers” who practiced prayer and meditation, a form of mindfulness as a way to connect with the presence of God.
Mindfulness Has Many Healthful Benefits
Research has shown that mindfulness has many physical, spiritual and mental benefits, some of which are:
- More clarity of thoughts
- Stress reduction
- Energy boost
- Body awareness
- Sleep Enhancer
- Emotional regulation during times of distress
- Decreased anxiety overall
- More joy and feelings of contentment
- Increased productivity
You Can Practice Mindfulness Every Day
There are many simple ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life. Practicing these strategies can help you have more productive and less tension-filled days.
- Four Square Breathing: Deep refreshing breaths with can bring benefits to the mind and body. Concentrate on taking deep belly breaths, inhaling on the count of 4, holding 4 counts, then exhaling on the count of 4, holding again for 4 counts.
- Body Scan: Practice deep breathing while noticing where you are holding specific tension in your body from your head to your toes. Most people tend to hold a lot of tension in their neck, shoulders, back, abdomen and thighs. Working on relaxing any tense areas while breathing deeply will offer your body and mind a chance to soften muscles and release stress. You can do this practice anywhere and at any time.
- Mindfulness Meditation: Quick mindfulness “snacks” can be practicing the Four Square Breathing while focusing on beautiful scenery, an inspirational quote or verse, the natural rhythms of the breath or music that soothes. Doing this even in small doses can bring a tremendous amount of refreshment to the soul and body.
- Mindfulness Prayer that can be practicing the presence of God, contemplative prayer, and lectio devina.
- Mindfulness Creative Projects such as Intuitive Visual Journaling and intuitive/meditative collaging or painting, and drawing. These practices clear your mind of monkey mind (the jumble of thoughts, feelings and to-dos that get in the way of your clarity and peace) which of course offers more benefits to your productivity.
- Mindful Walk in nature focusing on body movement, breathing, and the beauty around you, as well as the breezes, smells and sounds.
So there you go…just a short list of mindfulness practices that you can use in your daily routine. If you want to know more, check out some of these resources on the web:
- Mind Body Green: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/
- Mindful: http://www.mindful.org/
- Jan Johnson: http://www.janjohnson.org (Click “Articles”)
Susan Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC is a Psychotherapist, Certified Creativity Coach, Certified Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach, Entrepreneur & Life Coach offers counseling, coaching & creativity workshops that light the path of your life journey through Lighted Path® Coaching and Miller Counseling Services, PC. Along with having 30+ years of counseling, coaching, and group facilitation experience, Susan is a life-time trained artist with a special interest in painting, mixed media and fabric art.