Practicing Daily Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness—directing all of your attention and awareness to the present—can bring many benefits to your emotional and physical health, as well as to the relationships in your life. When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.

And while there are many mindfulness exercises you can practice on a regular basis, learning how to be present in the moment is also a way of life. With practice, you can learn to live a more mindful life that allows you to become more conscious of everything you are doing.

Here are a few practical ways to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life.

1). Mindful Eating. Mindful eating is maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you put into your body. It involves observing how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness. Mindful eating requires you to simply acknowledge and accept rather than judge the feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations you observe. It can extend to the process of buying, preparing, and serving your food as well as consuming it.Practice becoming more mindful about how you fuel your body. Resist the urge to multi-task while you eat. When you eat, be present with your food.

2) Mindful Communication. Mindful communication involves applying principles of mindfulness to the way we correspond with others. These principles include setting an intention, being fully present, remaining open and non-judgmental, and relating to others with compassion.

While this may not come naturally to many of us, learning to be aware and intentional in our communication strengthens relationships, increases empathy, and increases emotional intelligence.

3) Mindful Activities. This means focusing on the present moment, tuning into physical sensations, being fully aware of everything you do, and letting go of thoughts of the future or anxiety over the past. Fortunately, you can improve at this and there are many opportunities to practice throughout the day.

Walking, gardening, yoga, and many other activities can be opportunities to practice mindfulness. You just have to perform them with a heightened sense of awareness.

4) Mindful Breathing.To help you stay present throughout the day, it might help to turn toward your breath. Mindful breathing simply involves focusing your thoughts on the breath coming in and leaving your body. You might focus on the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils, or the rising and falling of your breath in your belly or chest. Whatever feels right for you.

You can set reminders to focus on your breathing through out the day but there are also apps you can download that focus on mindfulness and breathing. My favorite apps are Mindfulness for iPhone and Breathe for iWatch.

5) Practice Gratitude. The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.

Spending a few minutes at the start or end of each day focusing on what you are grateful for, keeping a gratitude journal or even writing a thank you note to someone are all ways to refocus on what we have instead of what we lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice. And so do the benefits.

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