Counsellor Sarah Barr shares five ways to exercise mindfulness today, even while doing the dishes!

“Mindfulness, being present in each moment, without judgement”

So mindfulness is quite the buzz word at the minute, but what exactly is mindfulness?

It is defined as being aware of each moment and living in the present.

So really it is about taking in what is happening right now, and not focusing on what you have to do later or what happened earlier.

Believe me, this is harder than it sounds!

It is about being fully present in the moment and not over-reacting or feeling overwhelmed by what is going on around you.

It is believed that the daily practice of mindfulness is an effective tool in managing depression and anxiety.

We can practice it everyday, by being aware through our senses, or through our thoughts and emotions.

Anyone can practice mindfulness, there are no barriers.

People can ‘train’ to be more mindful, through listening to CDs, reading books or joining a meditation/mindful group.

We can practice mindfulness through meditating, doing a body scan or even when we are doing the dishes!

Below I have listed a few exercises that you can start today:

  1. STOP

This a brief mindful practice that can be used during the day. It helps you to become aware of what is going on around you:

S – Stop

T – Take a breath

O – Observe what is going on

P – Proceed

2. Mental Focus Exercise

Stare at any object and try to remain focused on just that object for as long as possible. When your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to the object. The longer you can remain focused, the more your mindfulness will increase. This is also a good exercise if you feel a panic or anxiety attack may be coming on.

3. Musical Stimuli Exercise

Listen to your favourite (happy) song and pay attention to how it makes you feel.

What emotions/memories come up?

How do those memories make you feel?

Engage the emotions and see where they lead.

4. Social Media

When you are on social media and see a meme or post that someone has shared, and it really annoys you, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and focus on your feelings.

You will learn so much about why it REALLY bothers you…

5. Daily Tasks

This is a full sensory awareness exercise. So wherever you are, just stop and look around. Become aware of everything that your senses pick up and ask yourself:

How do you feel?  

How does your body feel?

What senses are being used?

This exercise can be used while you are walking, cleaning, in the shower or washing the dishes

People who practice mindfulness learn to become familiar with their own ‘habits of mind’. Through regular practice they begin to notice how they react to different situations or people.They become more familiar with their body-mind connection.

To help them do this they may spend some time every day practising mindfulness.

“Thoughts are just thoughts and no matter how awful they are, thoughts do not make us terrible people OR mean bad things will happen”.

Take Care ~ Sarah, New Beginnings.