It is a human tendency to feel worried, stressed, and anxious from everyday events.
But there are simple exercises that you can do to help lessen these worries. As well as this, they can provide mental clarity, headspace, and a change of perspective. One of these practices is mindfulness meditation.
Originating in Eastern religious practices such as Buddhism and Hinduism hundreds of years ago, mindfulness is now making it’s way into Western culture, and is transforming from religion into science, just as mental health awareness is rising.
Mental distractions can make it very difficult to maintain perspective and concentrate on our goals. If we're distracted or stressed, we have trouble making good decisions and solving problems.
Mindfulness training is about present moment awareness, and it helps us to stay focused, calm our stress levels, and perform at our best. Mindfulness can also be instrumental in helping the brain to relax and allow creativity to flow. It's very easy to do, and won't take much time out of your day.
Below are 11 steps that only take 10-15 minutes to do, and will leave you with a clearer mind and creative inspiration.
We also suggest trying an app like Headspace, Smiling Mind, or Calm to help you start. Find a comfortable place at home with no distractions. Developing a routine by doing it at about the same time each day will also help.
Find a good place to sit. This could be on a chair, or a cushion on the floor. Take note of where your legs are, whether your feet are on the floor, or crossed underneath you. Make sure you are comfortable.
Rest your hands comfortably on your legs. Try and keep your back straight. Don’t hunch by placing your hands too far forward on your knees.
Lower your gaze and concentrate on a spot on the floor or a wall. Your eyes can remain open to start with.
Relax, and concentrate on your breathing. Take note of your breaths travelling in and out of your body. You should breath in through your nose, and let your breath travel all the way down to fill your stomach.
Count ten breaths in and out slowly.
Close your eyes gently, and begin to notice the sounds around you. Simply be aware of what’s happening around you.
Bring your awareness back to your breathing. Count another 10 breaths in and out.
Mentally scan down from the top of your head, all the way down to your toes, and notice how each body part feels as you scan over it. Do this slowly, noticing where in your body you may feel an ache or a tingle. Notice them, and continue to scan down your body. Repeat twice more.
If your thoughts start to wander off, bring your awareness back to your breaths in and out. Realise that it’s okay for your mind to wander, but try to concentrate on your own body and your breaths in and out.
Relax for a few moments in silence. Let your thoughts drift if they want to, but realise that you can shift your awareness at any time back to your breathing, and that you can step away from the thoughts and the stresses of life.
When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes. Sit still for a few moments, until you’re ready to stand up and go about your day.