5 simple mindfulness exercises to brighten up your life
In today's world, we easily get swept away by our busyness and the chaos that surrounds us — it is like we rush through life without stopping to breathe and take care of our bodies and mind. Therefore, to tune out distractions and improve the quality of our life, we need to incorporate mindfulness into our day-to-day activities.
Mindfulness exercise involves being present in the moment, observing our thoughts and emotions and sustaining the awareness of our bodily sensations and surrounding. Here are some ways on how you can exercise mindfulness to calm your mind and move past negative thoughts and emotions.
It is said that yogis don't count life in years, but by the number of breaths they take. Our breath is the closest companion we have — it is what keeps us alive — so, try to breathe consciously every day, even if it is only for a few minutes.
You can try breathing exercises in any of your chosen comfortable places. Firstly, feel the natural rhythm of breathing and let your breath flow naturally, without forcing anything. Don't take shallow, short breaths through your chest; instead, try belly breathing i.e., breathe through the nose and fill your belly with air.
And if it feels comfortable, you can also place one hand on your belly and another on your heart to feel more at ease. There are also other breathing techniques, namely Lion's breath and alternate nostril breathing.
'Do I listen only to reply, or do I listen to understand and communicate?' Often, our thoughts and reactions can lead us away from the conversation, and we can't even remember what message the other person was trying to convey. Hence, listen mindfully.
Try to be present and invest your full focus on the person to whom you're listening. This way, not only will you be able to communicate better, but also show respect to that person. And be empathetic and try to understand a situation from someone else's point of view instead of being caught up in your judgments or preconceived notions.
Just as sometimes we forget to breathe properly, we tend to ignore the physical discomfort we feel, especially when we are stressed or angry. The headaches we feel, the shoulder and back pain and tensing in the muscle; all of these discomforts and aches are connected to our emotional state. Hence, body scanning is a very effective way to release the physical tension we consciously or unconsciously experience.
Body scanning is done mentally, and this practice brings awareness to every single part of our body. You can do this exercise by following a few simple steps. First, get comfortable (either by lying down or being seated) and then take a few deep breaths. It is best if we start the practice by bringing attention to our feet as they help us feel grounded.
Begin observing the sensations that are felt and if you feel any discomfort, breathe into it and acknowledge it. Try to be purposeful with this practice, and you will see how relaxed you will feel!
Doodle or colouring
Colouring or doodling can be a therapeutic act, and it isn't just for the kids. In fact, colouring is termed as the art of anti-stress as this simple practice can guide our mind into the world of fantasy and colours, and we can harmonise our feeling via shades and hues, eventually getting rid of our stress and anxiety.
There are tonnes of adult colouring books available in the market and online websites such as Pinterest and justcolor.net that offer free colouring pages. So, pick up colouring pencils or crayons and evoke your artistic side!
Undoubtedly, eating is one of the most pleasurable acts that we engage in as human beings. Yet, we eat a plateful of food without realising what we are actually ingesting. It is not a difficult task to eat accordingly and savour every bit of our food.
Don't just eat to satisfy your cravings, rather eat according to your hunger. Listen to your body and take a deep breath; if you feel the sensations of hunger, only then decide to eat. And always remember — if you don't love the food, don't eat it!