Make Mindfulness Matter and Its Benefits Will Boost Your Day
Mindfulness is meaningful, even if it seems a bit “out there” for some of us. It’s sort of simple – it’s harnessing the ability to be aware of what is going on – both inside us and around us – in the present, in the exact moment when your life is taking place.
It is a skill, though, and it requires practice. Mindfulness in the physical moment can come during activities such as walking or mind-body exercise and it can increase the mental benefits that come with these positive physical actions.
Mind-body exercise is known for its focus on mindfulness, and practicing this centuries-old routine of movement and breathing can lead to improvements in health that reach to both our mental and physical state. The practice can help control blood pressure, improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. People who practice it regularly report greater clarity when it comes to decision making, too.
When you incorporate mindfulness into a quick walk break, your daily exercise walks, or even just a walk around the block with your dog, its benefits can be more powerful than the walk alone. Mindful walking strengthens the mind, body and spirit connection which in turn helps both sides of your brain – creative and analytical – work in unison.
You practice being present in the moment – mindfulness – with these approaches:
- As you walk, notice how your body feels.
- Look for peaceful, safe places to walk, and walk slowly. Chose routes free of obstacles.
- Focus on deep breaths as you go – take moments where that breathing is your true focus. You can also focus on how your foot feels as it touches the ground with each step.
- Experience the movements of your body as a whole as you move into your next step.
- You can also try to focus on your legs, your arms as they swing or your stomach and chest as you breathe, as you go.
- Take in the scents of your route as you go, focusing on noticing the aromas around you.
Even if you only reach a true mindful state for a short time, you will experience its benefits. Over time, with more practice, the benefits will add up and they can positively enrich your life.