3 Mindful Exercises to Stay Present
Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously aware of the present moment. It helps relieve stress, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, and improves mental clarity and emotional intelligence. Breaking out of our fast-paced lives, automatic thoughts and everyday routines to acknowledge, appreciate and observe each moment without judgment is the key to mindfulness. Use the following exercises to slow down, be mindful and truly experience each moment.
1. Change up Your Routine
It’s easy to fall into routines with your thoughts, feelings and actions. Re-prioritize your time and create more mindful moments with these everyday tasks.
Shower: Showering is mostly a mundane task, but by focusing on the temperature and the sensations of the water on your skin you can make it a mindful activity.
Eating: Many of us multitask while we eat. During your next meal, remove all distractions and focus on your food’s tastes, textures and temperature. Take the time to enjoy the flavors on your palate and even try closing your eyes to take it all in.
Taking a Walk: Walks are a great way to relieve stress and improve concentration. During your walks, unclutter your mind’s thoughts by focusing on the beauty of nature and the surrounding sounds. Then shift your awareness to the physical sensations of walking – your feet touching the ground, the air against your skin and the scent of plants, flowers or freshly cut grass.
2. Pay Attention to Your Breathing
Breathing is a natural process that we seldom notice. Our breath’s natural rhythm is always there to keep us grounded and to calm the mind and body. Even in small amounts, breath meditation can reduce stress levels, lower your heart rate and blood pressure and improve focus. Start simply with breath meditation by being more intentional with your breath, focusing on the timing and pace of each inhale and exhale and deepening each one.
3. Practice Gratitude
Science suggests that expressing genuine gratitude enhances empathy, reduces aggression and boosts health and happiness. Whether it’s a thought spoken aloud or written down in a journal, take time to express your appreciation for moments, feelings or experiences. Gratitude can be about both little and big things. From the roof over your head to the sun’s warmth to the touch of a loved one, try to incorporate more intentional moments of gratitude into every day.