“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” – Master Oogway // Kung Fu Panda
Mindfulness is the process of intentionally bringing your focus and paying attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without any judgment. This is a skill that needs to be learnt, developed and polished, in order to master it over time. Meditation is a great way to cultivate mindfulness.
Mindfulness and meditation has many benefits and can be cultivated through various meditation techniques. We break them down below:
Meditation techniques to cultivate mindfulness
Focus on your breathing. A great way to cultivate mindfulness is to pay attention to your breathing. Breathing techniques used to stay present and aware of the moment, while providing clarity of mind. Notice your body’s responses to your breathing and what it’s like.
- Is your breathing deep?
- Are you breathing normally or putting extra effort?
- Which part of your body is responding when you inhale or exhale?
Noticing and paying attention to all these things among others will help you clear your mind. In case your mind starts to wander, fear not, just return back to your breathing and stay mindful.
As a result, you can reduce anxiety and cope with stress.
Body scan. Sit down, lie down, get comfortable and do a quick scan of your body while paying attention to the sensations you feel.
- Start with your toes and wriggle them a bit.
- Move up and pay attention to your legs and then make your way to your stomach, noticing how you feel and react to the breathing and attention.
- Move to your fingers, hands and arms and watch out for any sensations or discomforts.
- Once you reach your face, relax your muscles and look for any ahces or feelings.
By doing this once a day, you end checking-in with your body and noticing any discomforts within, which could be signs of stress or anxiety. It’s a great way of connecting with yourself and remaining mindful.
Self-reflect. This is a good technique to practice mindfulness, in case you’re feeling discomfort, mentally or physically, or just want to understand your current state of mind.
- Ask yourself how you are feeling or what you feel happy about?
- Reflect on such questions and focus on the feelings that arise from these questions.
By doing so, you’ll keep your attention on the present and how you feel, rather than what’s bothering you or causing stress.
Send gratitude. It’s simple and it can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Close your eyes and rather than focus on breath, this mindfulness technique is about sending gratitude and positivity to people.
- Start by picturing yourself, then your friends and family and then whoever else comes to your mind, they could be strangers too. Someone you met on the bus, or saw while you were picking up dinner.
- Send yourself and others positive thoughts and compliments.
- Send them good wishes and you’ll feel yourself smiling and feeling happier as a result of this.
This will help you let go of unhappiness and negativity, increasing positivity and happiness.
Visualisation. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, stressed or angry, practice visualisation.
- Start by closing your eyes and visualise yourself in a happy place or think of an object and hold it in your mind. It could be a box, a balloon or anything you like.
- Slowly push out whatever is bothering you into that object or place.
- Fill up the object with all your worries and anger, and hold your attention.
- Once that object is filled up, slowly watch it float or disappear from sight taking away all your problems with it.
This will help you clear your mind, refocus and overcome your stress, anxiety or anger. It’s a great way to cultivate mindfulness and dealing with problems.
Practicing these above techniques are just a few ways to cultivate mindfulness. You can meditate anytime, anywhere and even practice guided meditation to be more mindful. The aim should be to make it a lifestyle so you can be present in the moment even when you focus on everyday activities like eating, walking your dog or even doing the dishes during this lockdown period.
Evolve has a range of guided audios to help you practice mindfulness and balance your mind and body. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!