You can't open the paper, flip through a magazine or turn on the TV without hearing about today's mindfulness movement. It's everywhere.
I've heard of this idea for years, and even dabbled in a bit of guided meditation, but wasn't sure if a mindfulness practice was something I could incorporate into my daily life.
While the idea of getting lost in hours of peaceful meditation sounds intriguing, I'm not confident that I have the patience to embrace a practice that's so immersive.
Enter a more modern approach to meditation – mindfulness practice.
According to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
, “mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is an excellent antidote to the stresses of modern times. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one's inner experience.”
Michelle Lee is a writer and avid home chef, with 20 years of experience focusing on healthy lifestyle, diet and the home kitchen.
When not playing around with words, she loves to cook, spend time with her two children, play cribbage with her husband, and tackle The New York Times crossword puzzle
While mindfulness practice is thousands of years old, modern science has taken a new look at the physiological and psychological benefits of a regular mindfulness practice.
Established over 30 years ago, the Center is leading the charge for the “integration of mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness-based approaches in mainstream medicine and health care through patient care, research, academic medical and professional education.”
Their work with mindfulness-based stress reduction
is focused on the ways in which a more mindful approach to everyday life (and modern medicine) can help people handle a number of critical health concerns, including pain, heart disease, stress, cancer, anxiety, hypertension and depression.
I find all of this inspiring, but the reality for me is that I'm unlikely at this point in my life to take an immersive course in mindfulness. I went looking for small steps I can make to add a little more mindfulness practice to my everyday life.
So, to help you (and me) start the New Year right, I spent some time combing over “how to be more mindful everyday” lists and offer up to you my best-of-the-best! Each title is a link to the article I enjoyed.
I hope you're inspired by these great ideas and find a way to add a little more restorative, relaxing mindfulness into your every day life!
I love this idea – start simply and add a little mindfulness practice to things you're already doing every day. Having a shower? Tune in to the pleasure of the hot water. Washing dishes? Spend a few extra seconds focusing not on your racing thoughts, but on the relaxing sensation of the warm, soapy water. Be where you are, experience that moment.
Again, this is an activity we do mindlessly and nearly constantly. Why not take 10 minutes of your daily walking life and turn it into a quick, mindful meditation? Here are simple steps to convert your stroll into a moment of peace.
I love this for two reasons: First, I appreciate the focus on really savoring the food in front of you. As someone who loves to cook and feed others, it turns the focus away from chowing and back to relishing the textures, smells and flavors in front of you. Second, experts are finding that mindful eating also leads to less binge eating. Bonus!
While this seems the simplest step, I find it's where I need the most guidance. So I turned to Dr. Andrew Weil for three breathing exercises
to get me started.
According to Dr. Weil: “Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”