Mindfulness is a lot more than just a buzzword.
Mindfulness is a way of living and being, and it’s catching on quickly. Why? Because of the countless benefits experienced by people who practice mindfulness regularly—reduced stress and anxiety, increased memory and focus, improved relationships, and better sleep to name a few. Who doesn’t want a bit more of that in their lives?
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of being that involves being truly present in the moment.
With so many things running through our minds every day—all those worries and distractions—achieving mindfulness is easier said than done. Luckily, there are plenty of mindfulness practices that can help declutter your mind and engage in the present.
Most mindfulness exercises involve focusing on a specific task. This focus is what prevents our minds from wandering and allows us to achieve a state of awareness. This can take some practice, so don’t feel discouraged if random thoughts happen to intrude on your mindfulness practices. It’s all part of the process! The important thing is to stick with it.
That being said, something that I love most about mindful living is that it’s accessible to anyone and everyone. All you need is yourself (and maybe some stuff you already have at home), no fancy gimmicks required! There are also some great free tools available online to help guide you in your mindfulness practice, a few of which are mentioned below.
8 Easy Mindfulness Practices
Here are a few simple mindfulness tips and exercises that you can start implementing right away.
Guided Mindfulness Meditations
You’re probably already aware that meditation is a major gateway to mindfulness. But for most of us, just sitting there with a clear mind is about as easy as waiting for your pizza to cool down before taking the first bite (impossible).
Using a guided mindfulness meditation can help. Guided meditations give you more to focus on than just, well...your thoughts. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the world of meditation, and there are tons out there to try!
Purely Being has plenty of free guided meditations, and you can find them on the website or wherever you listen to podcasts (like Spotify). Calm and Headspace are both popular meditation apps which you can try for free. You can also try listening to meditation music to get you in the zone.
These are just a few options to help you get started. Different types of guided meditations work for different people, so don’t be afraid to explore and see what else is out there!
This is a super easy mindfulness practice that you can try right here and now.
A body scan involves mentally scanning each part of your body, one at a time, from one extremity to the next. The point is to bring you into the present moment, as well as to relax physically. You might be surprised how much tension you’re holding in your body without realizing it—for example, in this moment, is your jaw clenched? How about your brow, is it furrowed? Are your shoulders tense?
To do a body scan, start by sitting or laying in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths. Next, pay attention to any sensations you feel in your body. Warmth, coolness, tingling, tightness. Start focusing on a specific part of your body—preferably your head or feet. Focus on how that part of your body feels. Continue on, scanning your whole body.
Mindful Breathing Techniques
Mindful breathing can be as simple as focusing on your breath as you take deep inhales and exhales, but there are some other methods you can try as well:
- Belly breathing. One hand on your stomach, one over your heart. Fill first at your abdomen, then your belly, then your lungs. Exhale in the opposite direction.
- The Wim Hof Method. You might have heard about Wim Hof before. His nickname is “The Iceman” and his body is capable of some pretty crazy stuff, which he claims is all thanks to his dopamine-activation breathing techniques. You can try one here.
- Alternate nostril breathing. This involves closing one nostril at a time as you breathe to alternate the airflow. Use your left thumb to gently block your left nostril. Inhale slowly through the right nostril. Now, close your right nostril with your left ring finger and exhale through your left nostril. In through the right, out through the left. Repeat.
Along with body scans, mindful breathing can be a great way to calm your mind and body in moments where you feel overwhelmed or anxious. Just breathe, friends! You got this.
Yoga and mindfulness go hand-in-hand (breathing and meditation often join the party, too!). Yoga is all about focusing on your body and breath in the present moment. And the idea that you have to be super stretchy or athletic to do yoga is pish posh.
Yoga is an inclusive practice that can be modified for all skill levels. Plus, you can do it right at home. For some guidance, check out yoga apps like Down Dog or popular free yoga videos like Yoga with Adriene.
Sometimes, mindfulness looks a lot like playing. Mindful colouring brings our attention to the present moment by focusing on a specific, somewhat repetitive task—but don’t worry, you don’t have to be artsy to give it a try!
There are plenty of mindful colouring pages that you can print off from online, and all you have to do is grab some crayons and get to work. You can also try zendoodling if you want to get a bit fancier with it.
Journaling Prompts for Mindfulness
Journaling is a great place to get started on a mindfulness journey. It’s simple and there are tons of prompts out there to help you get in the swing of things.
Here are a few mindfulness journaling prompt ideas:
- List 5 things that you’re grateful for in this moment
- What are you feeling right now?
- What affirmation or intention would you like to focus on today?
- What makes you proud of yourself?
- Look around you. What is beautiful? What makes it beautiful?
- What inspires you lately?
- What do you need to hear right now?
- List 3 great things that happened today.
- What do you need to get off your chest?
That’s right! You can nom your way to mindfulness, one bite at a time.
Mindful eating is often used to encourage a healthy relationship with food. But because eating is something that we do every day, it can also serve as a great daily reminder to be mindful.
We’re a generation of multi-taskers. Eating is usually paired with another activity like chatting with family, watching a show, scrolling through Instagram, reading, or even working.
When was the last time that you just sat down and really savoured your meal? Paid attention to every bite, every sensation, with a full appreciation for the food you’re eating? Taking slow bites, chewing thoroughly, and just making that moment ALL about your meal? If you said never, you’re not alone. It might feel a bit strange at first, but give it a try!
Use a Mala for Mindfulness
A mala is a piece of jewelry, usually a necklace or a bracelet, that is used in yoga and meditation. However, it can easily bring some mindfulness to your everyday life!
Typically, malas are purchased with a certain intention or mantra in mind. Some malas are even created with a specific intention, and may incorporate materials (like gemstones or crystals) that speak to that intention.
For example, our “I am Strong” Mala is meant to help ground and strengthen. You are enough. You are beautiful. You are strong.
Our Open Heart Mala is meant to serve as a reminder to spend time with your inner child. It allows us to be vulnerable and open to joy and play, while still feeling protected.
Of course, you can also purchase a mala that calls to you with your own intention in mind, and that intention can evolve over time. Either way, the mala serves as a reminder to reconnect with your intention. You can also use it to count your breaths or repeat a mantra as you touch each bead.
Every mala created at Seed + Bloom Designs is created with an intention and energy. You can browse our entire handmade mala collection here.
We hope these tips help you find some balance and harmony in your life, and we wish you well with your mindfulness journey!