Mindfulness can help us to relearn, as adults, to take pleasure in fundamental, everyday things that we used to enjoy spontaneously as children. Reacquainting ourselves with pleasure in this way is an essential component of self-kindness.
It means accepting your emotions for what they are and putting your physical, emotional and mental well-being first. It can motivate you to make healthy choices in life. When you hold yourself in high esteem, you're more likely to choose things that nurture your well-being and serve you well.
Remember: self-love is the key to happiness and happiness is contagious!
Find some time for yourself this weekend and try some of these mindfulness activities:
The Body Scan
A popular exercise for mindfulness is called the Body Scan. It requires very little in the way of props or tools, and it is also easily accessible for most beginners. Try this 30 minute guided narrative by expert and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Jon Kabat Zinn HERE.
Mindfulness Bell Exercise
In this exercise, you begin by closing your eyes and listening for the cue. When you hear it, your aim is to focus your attention on the sound and continue your concentration until it fades completely. This exercise helps you to keep yourself firmly grounded in the present. Listen to this five minute audio HERE.
The 3-Step Mindfulness Exercise
If you are strapped for time, another great exercise is the 3-Step Mindfulness Exercise. In this exercise, there are only three steps:
Step 1: step out of 'auto-pilot' to bring awareness to what you are doing, thinking, and sensing at this moment.
- Try to pause and take a comfortable but dignified posture. Notice the thoughts that come up and acknowledge your feelings, but let them pass. Attune yourself to who you are and your current state.
Step 2: bring awareness to your breathing for six breaths or a minute.
- The goal is to focus attention on one thing: your breath. Be aware of the movement of your body with each breath, of how your chest rises and falls, how your belly pushes in and out, and how your lungs expand and contract. Find the pattern of your breath and anchor yourself to the present with this awareness.
Step 3: expand awareness outward, first to the body then to the environment.
- Allow your awareness to expand out to your body. Notice the sensations you are experiencing, like tightness, aches, or perhaps a lightness in your face or shoulders. Keep in mind your body as a whole, as a complete vessel for your inner self.
- If you wish, you can then expand your awareness even further to the environment around you. Bring your attention to what is in front of you. Notice the colours, shapes, patterns, and textures of the objects you can see. Be present at this moment, in your awareness of your surroundings.
When you are ready to finish the exercise, open your eyes slowly and try to carry that mindfulness with you as you go about your day.