Mindfulness Exercises – The Mindful Moment
About two months ago I started meditating in order to become more present and mindful in my everyday life. While I feel like I am making progress in my meditation practice (thanks to Headspace), bringing that mindfulness into my everyday life is something I am struggling with. Usually, I am so swept up in thoughts I forget to take a moment to notice how I feel. In order to try and be more mindful in my everyday life, I have started practicing something I call the mindful moment.
The Mindful Moment
You do not need to be in picture perfect surroundings like those in the image above in order to practice mindfulness. The mindful moment can be practiced anywhere and at any time, it is not a strict practice that requires a significant amount of time or energy. I have found myself using it while waiting in the car. My usual reaction when I am sitting alone in the car waiting for somebody is to grab my phone and check Twitter/Facebook or some other app in order to pass the time. Instead, I have started using the below technique to bring myself into the present moment.
The exercise begins with a deep breath, your eyes should be open but you should not focus on anything in particular. Take in your surroundings, notice the people walking by absorbed in their own thoughts, or the leaves swirling in the wind. Notice the weight of your body on the car seat, listen for any sounds, the breeze sighing through the trees or the laugh of a passerby. Notice thoughts as they come and go but don’t focus on any thought in particular. A minute is all you need if you can be present for longer than that well and good. However, you will be amazed at the difference a few moments of mindfulness will make to your thought process.
The practice relaid above takes a lot of inspiration from the guided meditations provided by headspace, however, I have found when practicing mindfulness in a non-meditative state it is important to have your eyes open. By taking in your surroundings but not focusing on anything, in particular, you are providing your brain with an additional input which makes it easier to forget your thoughts for a moment and be present.
This practice does not need to take place in a car, simply try it the next time you are alone and instinctively reach for your phone.