There are many benefits of mindfulness including better sleep, improved immune function and a reduction in stress and anxiety.
With all of these benefits you might think that mindfulness must be hard work and demand a lot of time to practice. But you don't have to wait until you are able to clear a daily half hour slot in your busy schedule to start being mindful.
Even a few short 2 minute practices a couple of times a day can be extremely beneficial for your mind and body.
Here are just 4 small ways to bring mindfulness into the midst of a busy day:
Take 10 mindful steps - At some point during the day, whilst you are walking, make a conscious effort to slow down your pace for 10 steps. This could be on your way to work or school or simply walking around the house. Become aware of feet on ground as you walk. Notice how your weight shifts from your heel to the ball of your foot. For these 10 steps, enjoy the sensation of walking without focusing on your destination. You might try breathing in for one step and breathing out with the next step.
Take 3 gentle breaths - Just a few mindful breaths can calm and soothe your nervous system and help you to feel more balanced and at ease. When you feel your body becoming stressed, take a moment to stop what you are doing and simply become aware of three breaths. Do not try to change your breath, just notice how it feels. Be aware of the sensation of air moving into your nostrils. Feel your abdomen expand and air moves in and fall as it moves out. You may feel your breath deepen and slow as you give it your attention.
Relax the muscles in your face - When your mind is busy, the muscles in your face can become tense. Often, just thinking about speaking, or rehearsing something you want to say to somebody, can cause your jaw to tighten. Conversely, by relaxing the muscles in your face, you can help to quieten your mind. When you feel your mind and body become too busy or stressed, take a moment to soften your forehead, relax the small muscles around your eyes and cheeks and release all of the muscles around your mouth and tongue. Feel your mind become more peaceful as your face relaxes.
Be kind to yourself - An attitude of softness and kindness towards yourself is an important part of being mindful. If you don't manage to practise mindfulness on any one day, don't worry, but take a second to check in with yourself and notice how your mind and body feel. Just by observing how your mind and body feels, you are already practising mindfulness!
Becoming more mindful can be an enjoyable process, not just another thing to fit into a busy schedule. Build up your mindfulness practice slowly, be creative and enjoy finding what works for you. Good Luck!
Here and Now: An Interactive Mindfulness Book is published by Harper Thorsons, £7.99, out now.