Mindfulness is an action and state of being aware of, valuing, and accepting, the present moment. In my experience with DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) over the past few months, I have learned a lot about mindfulness, and it has become a very important and useful part of my life. Here are some ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your life:
1. Make (at least) one meal a day a mindful meal.
With our hectic lives, it is very easy to multitask while eating and forget to place a priority on meals. Mindful eating can help us feel more satiated after eating, and it also makes the eating experience much more enjoyable in general. When having a mindful meal, put your phone away, turn off the TV, close your laptop, and just pay attention to all of the sensations of eating ー the way the food feels, tastes, smells, and looks.
Consciously observing how our body feels is a quick, simple way of practicing mindfulness. It is important to realize where in our body we feel different emotions because this can help us to better understand and recognize them.
3. Notice all of the sounds around you.
I usually enjoy listening to music when I am walking or when I’m on the subway, however, sometimes I turn the music off and just pay attention to the sounds around me. It is interesting to hear all that is going on, and it really reminds us of what we are doing in that moment!
4. Count your breaths.
When breathing, count each inhale and exhale. By practicing this, it makes it easier to focus on each breath for what it is, and it helps us to feel more grounded in the moment. Focusing on breathing helps calm us and remind us of the present.
5. Participate fully in whatever activity you are doing.
It’s very easy to get caught up in multitasking instead of focusing on one thing at a time. While multitasking can be useful at times, it is also important to do some tasks one-mindfully! An easy example of this is when we are hanging out with friends or family. Instead of texting or scrolling through Instagram while spending time with others, put your phone away and throw yourself fully into the conversation. It will help make the experience that much more valuable and enjoyable for everyone!
These are just some of the many ways to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us to value the present, and not focus as much on the past and future. Mindfulness has many proven health benefits, and I highly recommend striving for a mindful life!