Mindfulness is beautifully simple. When you bring your awareness to the present moment - the sensations in your body, your thoughts and emotions, the information coming through via your senses - you’re being mindful.
When you’re cooking dinner and paying attention to the smell and the flavour, you’re being mindful.
When you’re taking a shower and you close your eyes to enjoy the feeling of the warm water falling onto your skin, you’re being mindful.
When you’re cuddling your child and rather than thinking about the past or the future, you’re simply savouring that moment… You guessed it! You’re being mindful.
Sometimes, it requires a conscious effort to switch off racing thoughts and reconnect with the present moment, which is why mindfulness practices can be particularly useful.
They train us to become more and more mindful because (as with many human skills) as we practise, we improve.
Mindfulness is becoming a widely-recognised practice to help us achieve greater wellbeing, including reduced stress levels. In my own life, becoming more mindful has given me the opportunities to connect more deeply with my loved ones, enjoy a stronger sense of calm and fulfilment and obtain higher quality sleep.
Here are five simple (and effective!) ways you can practise mindfulness, too!
Noticing the different colours of the world is such a simple and fun way to be more mindful! Looking out my window right now, I can see leaves in many different shades of green, grey clouds, a black car with red lights, white flowers, brown tree trunks and a blue bucket.
For a mindful activity, you might like to go exploring and make it your mission to notice as many colours as you can! Find a local garden or nursery to wander through, or go to the beach (particularly at sunrise or sunset).
As you have a conversation with someone, let go of anything else which might be floating around in your mind and pay attention. Listen with openness and create a safe space for the other person to share. Be curious and interested about what they have to say and allow this to be reflected in your body language and tone of voice. If you notice yourself becoming distracted, simply re-focus on the conversation as best you can.
Tune into your breath
Take a deep breath. Feel your body expanding as the air moves in and the incredible sense of letting go as you exhale. Deep breathing is a wonderful exercise because not only does it bring you into the now, it is also a great stress management tool.
Do tasks and chores mindfully
We can also find mindfulness in experiences we might not particularly enjoy, such as doing chores. For example, when you're washing the dishes, you can notice the smell of the soap and the temperature of the water and look of the bubbles. When you’re tidying up, you can pay attention to all the little movements of your body (especially your hands!). When you’re ironing, you can feel the texture of the material and the warmth from the iron. Acknowledging the richness of experiences in doing chores has actually helped me to enjoy them a whole lot more!
Interesting Mindfulness Resources
Curious to find out more about mindfulness? There are plenty of interesting and useful resources you can check out!
The Mindful Kind podcast - I launched this podcast in late 2015 and it now has almost 70 episodes available (for free!) via iTunes and my website. Each episode is approximately 10 minutes long with highly actionable advice and personal stories to inspire you on your mindfulness journey!
The Mindful.org website is an awesome collection of articles about meditation, relationships, work and heaps more.
Books - The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris, Mindfulness in Eight Weeks by Michael Chaskalson and Calm by Michael Anton-Smith.
Magazine - Breathe (the first issue was recently released in Australia and has had an overwhelmingly positive response!)
About the Author:
Rachael Kable is a mindfulness mentor, blogger and host of the top-rated podcast, The Mindful Kind. She is passionate about sharing her journey with mindfulness to inspire others to start taking small (but meaningful!) steps towards more mindful living. Rachael has a Bachelor of Psychological Science, Certificate in Coaching and Counselling and is currently studying an Advanced Certificate in Guiding and Teaching Meditation.