7 easy ways to be mindful this May
Mindfulness. The term is more used than your willpower by Friday at 3pm.
And you’re going to hear a whole lot more about it during May – for good reasons: mindfulness is better for you than kale. Why? The practice fires up the ‘rest and digest’ part of your nervous system which 1. Helps with stress management, and 2. Kicks in your brain’s filtering and focusing abilities. “It’s our natural state of awareness when we remove stress and fatigue from the system,” says Swisse Wellness and 1GiantMind meditation expert, Jonni Pollard. Think zen mind jedi.
The basic idea is simple. The M word is about being actively aware of what’s going on in the present moment by observing your feelings and thoughts, sans judgment. In other words, don't give yourself a mental spanking if you break your concentration.
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
Simple as the concept is, actually starting a mindfulness practice can be downright daunting. So we at Swisse Wellness thought we’d offer a little encouragement and inspo.
During May, we want you to show us your version of mindfulness (and share it using the hashtag #SwisseMindfulness).
Looking for some meditation-free pointers? Here’s a list of seven ways to be more mindful, conveniently the same number of days in a week. Why not challenge yourself to Celebrate Life Every Day, starting now?
1. RELEARN TO WALK
David Cox, chief medical officer at Headspace reckons it’s all about walking mindfully, or practicing mindfulness while you walk, ie, focus on not getting distracted or lost in thought. No social media scrolling, podcast listening or phone call making – just walk.
2. BEFORE YOU PUT ON YOUR MAKEUP
From the moment you wake up, make like Aretha Franklin and take a few minutes to lie in bed and stretch your body. Notice any sensations you have. Job done.
3. HEAR AND NOW
Drive to work without the hum of the radio and use the time to feel all the feels. Traffic? Someone cuts you off? Try deep belly breathing or even laughing out loud. It helps.
4. SWITCH ON, TO SWITCH OFF
Chewing the fat with a colleague? Focus on the impact their words and energy have on you and vice versa. Then bring the goods.
5. LATERS LUNCH AL DESKO
Shovelling sushi into your mouth with one hand, while using the other to tick off your internet banking, may seem like a productivity win, but you’re better off relaxing when you eat your lunch, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Take your time, pay attention and clue into those feelings of hunger and fullness. That’s mindful eating: 101.
6. STOP RIGHT THERE
If you find yourself losing your cool quicker than that forgotten cup of tea, take note and STOP: That’s Stop, Take a breath, Observe what's happening inside and around you at that moment, then Proceed with whatever you're doing. Try it next time the keyboard warrior rage threatens.
7. LOSE YOURSELF
While it pays to be present some of the time, the latest creativity findings show engaging in imaginative thinking may make you even more mindful. Research has found positive and specific daydreamers tend to score high in mindfulness. So fantasising about meeting Nicole Kidman as she cruises the Swisse aisle in your local pharmacy and totally hitting it off with her, comes with benefits.