Creating Your Own Mindfulness Practice
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
You have probably heard of mindfulness at some point in your life, but have you wondered how to practically incorporate it into your daily life? Below are some helpful tips and skills, from a licensed therapist, to increase your daily mindfulness practice.
A Mindful Cup of Tea
A Mindful Cup of Tea (or coffee) is one of my favorite mindfulness daily practices! Often, our mornings are filled with rushing around and having our coffee or tea on the go. In this practice, the goal is to take time to purposefully notice all the sensory experiences of that warm beverage.
Sight: Take a moment and ask yourself about the visual experience of this drink. What color is it? How does the liquid move in the cup? What does the cream or sugar look like when added to the cup?
Sound: Reflect on how the spoon sounds while stirring. Does the liquid make a sound when pouring or moving the mug? Are there other sounds in your environment when experiencing this tea?
Smell: Notice how the tea or coffee smells. Are there hints of hazelnut, caramel, or mint? Notice the emotions or thoughts that these smells might bring up in you.
Touch: Name the sensations you experience when touching the mug. Is it comfortingly warm? Or too hot to hold? Notice how your arms and hands move when you bring the cup to your mouth.
Taste: Close your eyes and experience the taste. Is it pleasant? Does it bring up any memories or emotions for you? Name the tastes that you experience – is it sweet, bitter, sour?
This mindfulness exercise can also be used as a grounding technique, in times of stress or anxiety. In it, you will take a moment and name experiences in your environment through each of your senses.
5 – Name 5 things that you can see
4 – Name 4 things that you can touch
3 – Name 3 things that you can hear
2 – Name 2 things that you can smell
1 – Name 1 thing that you can taste
Body Scan Meditation
A body scan meditation can be done anywhere you are! In a body scan meditation, you take some time to name the sensations of your body without judging them. Close your eyes and starting at the top of your head, check in with each part of your body and how it feels in that moment. If you would like extra help with this exercise, there are many guided body scan meditations that can be found online.
A Mindful Walk
In a mindful walk, the goal is to be purposeful with our ability to notice aspects of our environment. At the start of your walk, choose a color. Throughout your walk, identify and name each piece of the environment that is that color. If you choose red, do you see a Stop Sign? A flower? A dog with a red collar? A flag? Often these parts of our walks can go unnoticed, but in a mindful walk, we are choosing to be more conscious of what occurs around us.
What’s a relaxing or happy memory for you? For some, it’s a beach vacation with no worries on the mind. For others, it may be the moment when their favorite band walks on stage and the music swells. In a visualization meditation, you can take one of these memories and create the experience in your mind. Take time to name each of the sensory memories and to breathe deeply during the meditation.
If you’re looking for additional help in mindfulness skills, a therapist at Mind, Body, & Soul Therapy and Counseling can help! Our offices in Collingswood and Moorestown have many licensed and experienced mental health professionals who specialize in mindfulness.