Lori Lite, Manager of Marketing and Communications, Actualize Consulting
At Actualize Consulting, we are always trying our best to stay connected and healthy. Recently, we held a week-long wellness discussion on mindfulness. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Most people think of being mindful through meditation or breathing, but you can be fully present during many activities we take for granted – like eating and walking.
Here are 5 ways you can tune into mindfulness:
How many times do you eat while you are doing another activity, like working on the computer? Being present can aid with digestion, helping break down food and absorb more nutrients. Today be fully present while you are eating - do not think of the past or future. Just focus all of your attention on your meal. How does it look, feel, and taste? Are you chewing quickly or slowly? Treat yourself to paying attention to what you are eating, and to heighten your awareness, watch this short visualization from Actualize COO Kerry Wekelo on nourishing our bodies.
2. Feeling the Wave:
Sometimes we think we are relaxing because our bodies are resting, but our minds are still working overtime. It is easier to replace your mental to-do list with an image than to empty your mind of all thoughts. Try this exercise to stop the brain chatter:
Consciously picture a gentle ocean wave rolling in from one side of your brain to the other, just as it does on a quiet day at the beach. This will clear your mind to experience relaxation. This same technique can be applied to your whole body. To heighten your relaxation experience, enjoy this video of soft waves from Corsican Plage de Villata Beach in the background.
3. Walking Meditation:
Many of us are increasing our walking and exercise during the pandemic, but are you fully present? On your next walk, instead of thinking of the destination or how fast you are going, put your focus on each step. Be aware of your foot as your heel first makes contact with the ground. Now, focus on how your foot rolls over the earth, ending with your toes stretching as they lift into the air behind you. Do this with each step. For your convenience, Berkeley University put together a PDF download on how to do a walking meditation.
Often, we think of self-care or nurturing a child, which is crucial because it is a basic human need to survive and thrive. But nurturing can go beyond hugging a child or treating yourself to massage. I challenge you to contemplate the “feeling” of nurturing and see how it can expand beyond your own needs and personal bubble. How can you approach a project, client, co-worker, or activity by being mindful of nurturing? How about writing a client, friend, or mentor a letter? This video is helpful and will guide you through the process of expanding nurturing.
Liming away the day is the Caribbean practice of just “being” instead of “doing.” Instead of being permanently busy, take a break by humming a song, reading something light, or watching the clouds go by. In other words, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Start right now by listening and humming along with Bob Marley.
Mindfulness is one of the best ways to reduce stress and worry; when you are present, you cannot worry about the future or regret the past. By putting your focus on the here and now, you can more fully participate in your life as it unfolds. Instead of looking at being mindful as a chore, approach it as a game where you look for unusual moments to apply it. I’d love to know – how do you put your twist on mindfulness?
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