Practicing Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness has become popular in a lot of people’s lives. Mindfulness is simply put as “staying in the present”. The book “Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Street, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday” by Matthew Sockolov gives good exercises to start on your journey of self-help. 

Making it Simple

“All mindfulness requires from you is to show up and put forth a little effort. Below are the essential elements you’ll work on as you build your mindfulness practice.” (Matthew Sockolov, Practicing Mindfulness)

Sometimes we have bad days. We want to relax and sit in silence after such a hard day. What if you could prevent your mood from dropping during the day. You don’t have to find a dark room, or fight your own thoughts.  Meditation doesn’t have to be hard, and it isn’t just sitting in a dark room with your eyes closed. It can be as simple as looking at your surroundings and noticing what sounds, colors and the things around you.

Some of the Easiest Ways to Practice

Here is a few exercising I find easiest to do throughout the day:

Finding the Breath

1. Find a comfortable position to sit in.

2. Close your eyes to minimize the distractions.

3.Bring awareness to your abdomen. Relax, feel the rising and falling of your chest. Notice the movement and take a few deep breaths

4. Move up to your chest, and notice how your lungs rise then fall as you exhale. 

5. Then bring your attention to your nostrils. Take a deep breath and notice how it feels.

6. Rest your awareness to one of these spots, when your mind starts to wander, refocus on the breath.

As you go through your daily life you should just be aware of how the breath enters and exits your body.

Bedtime Mindfulness

1. Stand next to your bed and take a few deep breaths. Center yourself by bringing your awareness to the body as it is.

2.When you climb into bed, be aware of what is happening. Then, lie down and bring to a restful position.

3. Feel your breath go in and out. Picture your body sinking into the bed as it relaxes.

4. Scan your body and relax each part as you go through it.

5. When you reach your toes, return the whole body and breath deeply.

This practice helps you settle down before bed when your mind is racing. 

Smiling

1.Close your eyes and find a seat. Keep the spine straight to invite energy and alertness into the mind and body.

2. Bring your attention to the sensations of the body breathing. Start with the abdomen.

3. After a while move to your chest.

4. Now move to your nostrils.

5. Open your awareness to scan the face forehead down. 

6. Allow yourself to softly smile. Notice the face and the breath feel.

7. Try letting the smile go and bringing it back several times.

8.When you are done, open the eyes and keep the smile for a moment, then let the smile fade slowly on its own. 

The book gives a lot of other good exercises. Some simple as a minute up to 25 minutes. Easiest way is to do what you feel like. Don’t over do it.

Lauren Sheidler
Author: Lauren Sheidler

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