As a facilitator/teacher of the beautiful practices of meditation and mindfulness, I am seeing more and more that any moments of awareness we can give ourselves during the day can be powerful and redirect us to a less stressed and more connected place. This can happen whether you decide to do a sit down session of mindful breathing OR simply take a minute to notice what is around you with purpose and clarity. Big steps or lil’ steps; they are all steps.
So, here are five easy exercises to bring some mindfulness to you right now:
1. Allow yourself to pause 3-5 times today notice how you are breathing. As you are doing this ask yourself: Am I holding my breath? Is it shallow or deep? Is it tight or flowing? Find the words to really name how your breath feels. What this does: Our breath is everything. Obviously, without it – we aren’t. Breathing constricts during stress or tension, which cuts off the natural flow of oxygen to the brain, which affects everything in our body. Your breath is life. How are you living?
2. At any moment during the day, stop and think of one blessing that you have in your life. First, think about it in detail then pause and place your left hand on your heart to feel it. When I say feel it, literally breathe it in, feel your heart beat and see if you can notice it radiate (because it will whether you are conscious of it or not). What this does: We are a nation driven by “what’s next.” We pass from accomplishment to accomplishment without taking the time to notice what we have finished or the big/little things that were important along the way. One minute of this focused and grateful type of consideration can change the direction of a whole day. We have so much more good in our lives than we allow ourselves to see. See it!
3. What are you putting into your body today? Invite yourself to really pay attention to the food that you eat. Do you see your food as calories or nourishment? When you are done eating/drinking, what does your body feel like? Are you eating quickly or slowly? Do you do others things while you eat? What this does: If you are an American, chances are you don’t think much about your food. This exercise gives you a chance to connect with what sustains you. Also ask, how was this food grown? How many people had a hand in producing what I am eating? Then, get deeper… is this food organic or not? If not, what does that mean. Food is so important in every aspect from our health to how it is produced and how that affects our community and our world. Be conscious and see what happens.
4. If you have a pet, take a moment today to get down on their level and really engage with them. If you have a dog, really look at your animal and notice how they interact with you. Look intently at their body and face. If you have a cat, see how they so easily walk through life no matter what their disposition. What this does: Animals are unconditional in their connection. What if you greeted your family the same way your dog greets you when you get home. What would that feel like? If your cat is a snuggler… what if you snuggled up to someone in your life like that. Could you do it?
5. We all do some sort of grooming during the day. Pick one to be mindful of – brushing your teeth, combing your hair, shaving. This time you will watch yourself poignantly throughout the task. What this does: What we do everyday at any moment can be meaningful and substantial – even the minutia. For example, if you decide to pay attention to brushing your teeth, pay attention to the taste of your toothpaste. What does the water sound like as you turn on the faucet? How does it feel when your teeth are clean? What do your teeth look like? So, what do you learn?
In conclusion, mindfulness is about being engaged; experiencing all the little, fabulous details and feelings. Those details then connect you to the big picture as you start to see the glorious web that embraces you snuggly with everyone and everything. Mindfulness and meditation allow full body, full mind and full spirit experiences. An hour a day or a minute a day… it and you can improve the world… one connected thought at a time.
Eden Kozlowski’s passion is to move people into the authenticness of their being and help them take full responsibility for their lives and health. She is founder/CEO of her dynamic meditation/mindfulness-based company out of Akron, Ohio USA – Just Be, LLC as well as Co-Editor on the meditation page at All Things Healing. Visit her website at justbemeditation.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JustBeMeditation or on Twitter at twitter.com/JustBeMeditate.
Finally, visit her blog on The Huffington Post.