Updated: Aug 27
2020 has been a real challenge, and like many of you- I am looking forward to the fresh start the new year will bring.
As the year comes to a close, I am sure your mind has been going a mile a minute-what am I going to cook for dinner? What are others thinking? I still need to go grocery shopping! Did I send all the holiday cards and gifts I meant to?
So now, more than ever, I thought I provide a few suggestions on how you can practice mindfulness in your day. There are five tips and you can practice all of them, or begin with just one of them. Any amount will create more attunement and connection within yourself and the present moment.
What is Mindfulness?
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress."
The reality is, we are always going to feel pulled in a million directions. But in order to live a more peaceful and connected life, it will be up to us to strengthen our mind, and build resilience to life stressors.
5 ways to begin practicing mindfulness in your day
Connect with your senses: It's as simple as it sounds. Pause for a moment and notice what is really around you. Name 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste.
Meditate: You may already know I am a huge fan of meditation. Research shows that meditation can shrink the amygdala, (the part of the brain which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress), and engage the parasympathetic nervous system (stress recovery aka "rest and digest") . Pick a guided meditation from Insight Timer to start a simple practice.
Focus on one task at a time: This can be a tricky one when we are juggling all the things and wearing multiple hats. The brain doesn’t like feeling scattered, so avoid multitasking and really sink into the present moment.
Do a Body Scan: Body scans help you to feel grounded and in the present moment. It’s super simple. Start with your toes and just simply be aware of them, then move up to your calves, then your quads and so on. If you’re standing, feel the ground supporting you and holding you up. You are safe.
Pick a hobby purely for enjoyment: When is the last time you did something JUST because you like it?! Pick an activity. Whether that be playing cards, doing a puzzle, taking a bath, going for a walk, or reading a book... whatever it is! Pick something just for your pleasure.
As you incorporate more mindfulness practices into your day, you will see it naturally progress to more awareness in other areas of your life. For example, in this blog post, I talk about how practicing mindfulness led to me becoming more aware of plastic pollution, and led to chances we have made in our own home.
Mindfulness can also be helpful for those with emotional eating issues, or other struggles with food and body. I wrote about mindfulness and emotional eating in this blog post.
How do you plan to incorporate more mindfulness into your day in the new year? comment below and let me know!
Katie Valley is a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor whose goal is to dispel the myths of diet culture and reinforce a holistic, health-focused approach to wellness. After her own experience with disordered eating and poor body image, Katie found true healing by practicing Intuitive Eating and Body Acceptance.
Now she has her own practice, Katie Valley Wellness, where she helps women who feel out of control around food learn to eat intuitively, pursue TRUE health, & feel confident in their own body.
She is now booking new clients of 2022. Apply here.