Mindfulness is everywhere, but how does it translate to wellness? Maria Fermoile explains that mindfulness is “a practice of purposefully placing your complete attention in the moment.” It can be practiced anywhere, at any time, and has many applications on a practical level, such as helping people manage stress and anxiety, aging more healthily, and in some cases, even losing weight.
Incorporating mindfulness into movement is one such way to practice placing your attention in the moment. Although it takes effort to become more mindful, it’s deceptively simple. Both TaiChi and yoga already incorporate mindfulness into their practices; it’s a key component, in fact, to the point where you won’t receive the full benefits of the exercise without being fully present in that moment.
You can practice mindfulness in other activities, too, like walking. Combining mindfulness with movement helps contribute to your body’s wellness, as well as your mind’s. It reduces stress and improves your concentration skills, and brings awareness to yourself in a different way than you may have experienced before.
Even if you’ve never tried to tap into mindfulness before, here are a few exercises you can use to start:
Starting with your own body, notice all of the sensations you are feeling. Notice the sun’s warmth on your face. Notice that hole in your sock, and how it’s making your toe brush against the inside of your shoe. This is the time to take in all of the information you can, and acknowledge the thoughts floating around in your head. No judgment, just taking notes that these are things that are happening.
Now, take those observations and assign them words, like you’re going to describe them to another person. You could also look at it like word association, by describing a thing with the first word that comes to your mind.
Get lost in whatever you’re doing. Don’t think about anything else, just the activity. For some, this means getting in the “zone,” or the “flow.” Do one thing and only that thing, and if you notice your mind wandering, bring it back.
In a world that is constantly multitasking, practicing mindfulness and devoting yourself to one thing at a time and only one thing will bring you a new sense of peace. This peace will allow you to enjoy an activity without worrying about the next thing you have to do that day.