Life is hard. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Big things, little things – all of us experience anxiety and worry and heartbreak and loneliness. And in these moments, it’s difficult to remember that happiness and joy are available to us. So how do we tap into it?
Contentedness lies in being mindful. Mindfulness is a practice that we can all fit into our daily lives. By increasing our awareness of ourselves and our surroundings, we promote gratitude, resilience and calm. We are better equipped to deal with the hardships when they arise and appreciate the good times that follow. It becomes easier to brush off the worries that niggle away at us and to be present in the moment, to experience the now.
The following short exercises can be practiced at any time and in any place without any equipment.
- Mindful Walking
Take five minutes while you’re walking to clear your mind. Focus on the feeling of your feet against the ground. Is the surface rough, smooth, slippery? Is the ground firm against your feet or does it softly give way beneath you? Turn your attention now to the feeling of your environment on your skin. Is it windy? What direction is it blowing? Is it warm? What does the sun feel like on your face? If it’s raining, count the number of drops that fall against your hands. Take in your surroundings – what can you see, smell, touch, taste and hear? All that matters is this moment. After five minutes, let your thoughts dissipate like clouds and continue with your day.
- Body Scan
Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on a mat or on the floor. Take a few moments to feel your back and legs against the supportive surface of the chair or floor. Breathe deeply, slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Being to become aware of the physical sensations present in your body. Beginning with your right foot, notice any sensations present. This could be pain, pins and needles, or simply the feeling of your foot against the ground. Breathe into the sensations. After a few moments, move your focus to your right calf, then your right thigh, followed by your right hip.
Repeat the process on the left side of your body. Move up your body, focusing on your abdomen, your lower back, your chest, your upper back. Focus on the sensations of each of your shoulder, upper arms, forearms, wrists and hands. Turn your attention to your neck, your mouth, your cheeks, your nose, your eyes and your forehead. Breathe into each of these areas in turn. When you have completed your scan, bring your attention back to the feeling of your body against the surface of the floor or chair and let your mind rest.
The body scan exercise can be performed more effectively by listening to relaxing meditation tracks that help clear the mind of tension and worry. Click the banner below to download a set of powerful meditation tracks 100% FREE (limited time offer):