When it comes to relaxation, you may feel like taking a moment to yourself is impossible. Our lives have gotten incredibly busy. With so much technology at your fingertips, it can be hard to stop, take a breath, and pay attention to what’s going on around you.
That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey, and Katy Perry gush about it. Even Google runs mindfulness courses, and chances are one of your friends uses the popular Headspace app.
But what is it?
What is Mindfulness?
U.C. Berkeley defines mindfulness as:
Maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”
It’s about being in the present moment.
But most of us spend our days stuck in our heads. We can’t stop thinking. If we get a spare moment, we spend it scrolling through Instagram or texting a friend.
Why would we want to stop?
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Celebrities love mindfulness because it helps them carve out time for themselves. When you’re practicing mindfulness, no one gets to share your headspace with you. No one gets to interrupt you. It’s the ultimate “me time.”
Mindfulness even has the weight of science behind it. It’s been proven to help you manage stress better, reduce anxiety, and improve brain and heart health.
Anyone can practice mindfulness, from kids to seniors. Some schools are even bringing mindfulness into the classroom.
So how can you get started with your own mindfulness practice?
How to Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness activities come in every flavor.
You can try meditation, deep breathing, adult coloring books, aromatherapy, yoga, or affirmations.
There’s no one-size-fits-all. Your mindfulness practice should suit your schedule and your tastes.
To get you started, here are three mindfulness exercises that you can try today.
- Setting a morning intention
- Mind mapping
- Tracking your mood
To make it even easier, A Place for Mom has created three relaxing (and free) worksheets you can use to practice mindfulness from the comfort of home.
Mindfulness Activity #1.
Take time in the morning to reflect on your intentions for the day and what you’re grateful for. Kicking off your morning with a dose of positive thinking gets the whole day off to a great start.
Having a morning mindfulness practice:
- Decreases anxiety,
- Promotes health-minded decisions, and
- Encourages a positive outlook.
Mindfulness Activity #2.
A mind map helps you take an idea or thought and break it into smaller topics. It can help break the pattern of rumination and spur creativity. If you can’t stop worrying or thinking about something, try doing a mind map.
Here are a few prompts to help you get started:
- What are you most worried about right now?
- What tasks do you need to do this week?
- How are you feeling?
- What makes you happy?
Mind mapping helps you:
- Organize your thoughts,
- Spot relationships between topics or concerns, and
- Boost your retention of information.
Mindfulness Activity #3.
Your mood goes up and down. Some days you’re happy, other days you’re not. But have you noticed any patterns in your mood? Are you happiest on Fridays, or on days you practice yoga, or on days you get out in nature? This worksheet can help you track how you feel on a daily basis.
Tracking your mood can help you:
- Spot patterns,
- Understand your triggers, and
- Spot any mental health concerns.
Find out more reasons why mindfulness is a MUST for the health of your body and mind.