Mindfulness has definitely become a hot wellness word over the last few years, so much that you might be thinking, "what does it even mean?"
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware about something; or a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. (as stated by the Oxford Dictionary)
In short, mindfulness is presence. It's tuning in to what's happening around and within you, and using that awareness to make intentional choices. This can benefit all sorts of areas of your day-to-day: stress management, diet, motivation, sleep, boundaries, relationships, finances, etc.
The more you practice mindfulness, the more it becomes second nature. But it takes practice!
We live in a fast-paced, need-to-be-satisfied-now kind of world, and mindfulness is quite the opposite of that. When you really want to get present, the best thing to do is sloooooooooow down, a skill that many Westerners struggle with.
Want to strengthen your sense of mindfulness? Try this simple practice:
- Sit on the floor or in a chair. Sit up tall, relax your shoulders, and slightly drop your chin.
- Close your eyes.
- Take 5 slow breaths, counting to 4 on the inhale and counting to 6 on the exhale.
- Return to your natural breath.
- With your eyes still closed, take notice of how you feel. Are you comfortable? Do you feel restless? Does your nose itch? Are you thinking about the 673 things on your to do list? Just NOTICE what comes up for you.
- Stay in this non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts and feelings for 2-10 minutes, or longer.
- Before you open your eyes, take 5 slow breaths.
- Slowly open your eyes and take in your surroundings.
That's it! Add this 5-15 minute practice at least once a day to help strengthen your awareness with what's going on within so that you have a stronger consciousness with what's happening around you. And don't worry about being "good or bad" at it. Practice leads to progress, and the more often you find time to slow down, listen in to what you need, the easier it becomes, and the more ease you will feel in your life.
Want a little more guidance?
If you are a Prenatal Studio member, try one of our meditations! You might prefer a little bit of coaching to stay in the stillness. =) And if you're not a member, yet, head over to the Prenatal Studio page to get signed up for unlimited access to our growing on-demand library!