Take a Mindful Moment
Published Monday, July 11, 2022
Take a Mindful Moment
Caitlund Davidson, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
In today’s world, it is not always easy to keep our minds in the present moment. Our attention often gets pulled in many different directions. We end up not giving our full attention to what we are currently doing and we dwell in the past or worry about the future. Our minds are constantly jumping from one thing to the next.
Mindfulness is learning to be in the present moment, on purpose and without judgment. Incorporating just a few minutes of relative peace and stillness into our day, even in an environment that is extremely busy, allows the body and mind to recuperate and build resilience. Mindfulness can have a positive impact on our thoughts, behaviours and overall mental well-being. It can help to put stressful moments into perspective and prevent us from ruminating and overthinking.
Here are five ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives.
- Observe your breathing. Taking even just a few minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of your day. Turn your attention to the physical sensation of your breath, without trying to control or manipulate your breathing. If your thoughts start to wander, try to bring them back to focus on the present and on your breathing.
- Go for a walk. Getting outdoors is good for our body, mind and spirit, and keeps us in the present. Take walks around your neighbourhood, through a park, in the woods, on a trail or by the water – wherever you can be outside. Walk slowly and attentively, focusing on the feeling of each step and not making the point to get anywhere. Having no particular place to go makes it easier to be exactly where we are and be tuned in to what is around us.
- Avoid doing too many things at once. Our efforts to accomplish too many things at once leaves us feeling rushed, overwhelmed, tired, and stressed. Doing one thing at a time will allow us to participate fully in the task at hand. It will also improve concentration, performance and reduce errors. We often think that the more we take on, the more productive we are. In reality, switching our focus between different tasks slows down our creative and communication processes. It is less efficient for us to be constantly stopping and starting, changing our focus, and breaking our flow.
- Observe your thoughts without judging them. The goal of this activity isn’t to achieve any particular feeling, thought or state but rather to develop acceptance, patience and compassion towards ourselves and our thoughts. It is merely to observe what’s happening in the present moment.
- Listen to your body. Mindfulness is about connecting our mind with our body. To be truly mindful we must pay attention to how our body feels. Start at your feet and gradually move up to the top of your head breathing into each area of your body and recognizing if your body is aching, relaxed, warm, cold, tired etc. Listening to our bodies can help us determine where we are holding tension and become more aware of how we can release and manage this tension.
As we practice moments of mindfulness on a regular basis, we will notice that this practice becomes more natural and easy for us. We will be more likely to slow down at critical moments in the day, and find it much easier to take a few deep breaths so we can respond thoughtfully rather than react hastily. Help manage your stress and build balance into your life by taking a few mindful moments to relax and rejuvenate each day.
For more information about mindfulness including other ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day, visit https://cmha.ca/brochure/mindfulness/.