Mindfulness is without a doubt one of the biggest buzzwords surrounding health and wellness this year. From workshops and retreats to podcasts and books, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to educate themselves on reaching that state of zen.
With the fast-paced lives most of us lead juggling work, family and everything in between, it’s no wonder so many of us are finally starting to pay attention to our mental health. Being mindful can boost productivity, get your creative juices flowing and quite simply, lead to happiness. Sounds good, right?
We all surely want to look after ourselves and pursue wellbeing, but mindfulness practices like meditation can be an acquired taste. If you’ve avoided practising mindfulness up until now because you’ve decided that meditation just isn’t for you, there’s good news. There are plenty of other effective ways to practise mindfulness that don’t involve meditating.
1 Take a yoga class
Whether it’s flowing fast through an ashtanga class or mastering a pose like a headstand, there’s no denying that yoga is a serious physical challenge. But with its roots in spiritual beliefs such as Hinduism and Buddhism, yoga is often looked to as a mind-body intervention.
Encouraging honing in on the breath, yoga is often praised for its ability to bring practitioners to the present moment. This focus on discovering a deep connection between body and mind means that attending a yoga class can often leave you feeling light, freed and at peace.
2 Go for a walk
Going for a walk - with the sole purpose of simply walking rather than rushing to get from A to B - is a much overlooked way to be mindful. It encourages purposeful breathing, a change of environment and that much-needed fresh air fix.
But if you don’t have time to go for a ‘mindful’ walk, you can still make it work. Just as we’re always reminded to appreciate the journey when it comes to bigger goals, this can be applied to our everyday too. When walking to work, the tube station or the shops, see your destination as your ‘goal’ and tune into your walk as the journey. Focus on breathing with every step, channeling energy through your feet and being aware of your surroundings - something we often take for granted. By the time you reach your destination, you’ll have an entirely new outlook.
3 Show gratitude
One of the best ways to appreciate the wins in your life is to step back and actually see them. It’s easy to forget that friendly conversation with a stranger you had in the coffee shop, or that smile you exchanged on your commute. But these interactions all build onto one another, having a chain reaction that leads to feelings of positivity and gratitude.
Don’t let these moments slip away - bank each positive interaction you have and jot them down in a gratitude journal when you have a minute spare. Writing them down will help you to process them, appreciate them and make you conscious of passing them on to others.
4 Do something for someone else
Which brings us onto our next point. Ever heard of paying it forward? Taking the time to pass some of those positive experiences on to others is one of the most meaningful things you can do - and it’s pretty effortless too.
Make a conscious decision every time you have a positive exchange to try to continue the chain reaction. This will encourage you to be aware of the ways in which you are interacting with others and therefore be mindful about how you treat others. Making someone’s day - there’s nothing like it.
5 Get colouring
We’re seeing more and more colouring books for adults these days, and with colouring’s stress-relieving benefits, it’s really no wonder they’ve taken off among those on a quest for a better sense of wellbeing.
Art therapy is nothing new, but who knew it could be so accessible? Not only does colouring help to achieve a sense of calm, but it requires a focus that keeps your mind present and offers a sense of childhood nostalgia for many. Whether it’s used as a distraction from stressful thoughts or valued more for it’s therapeutic properties, grabbing your colouring pencils and giving it a go can’t do you any harm.