FIVE WAYS MINDFULNESS CAN MAKE YOUR BRAIN HEALTHIER
Monday 27 April 2020
New ways of living during this lockdown period have taken some time to adapt to, but we often forget about our personal well-being. We can all introduce ourselves to mindfulness, a series of techniques which can help us dedicate some time to ourselves, without being overwhelmed by anxiety. Try having a go with these five simple exercises to train your mind.
1 Focus on your breath
By focusing our full attention on our breath and not thinking about anything else but inhaling and exhaling, we are encouraging our mind to focus on the “here and now”. Simply close your eyes and try, even if it is for only a few minutes a day: with a little practice, this simple technique will strengthen your “awareness muscle” making you more mindful, even when we you are not actively meditating.
2 Body scan
Body scan is a meditation practice included in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) protocol useful to cultivate calm and concentration. Test yourself with the Body Scan exercise – get yourself into a comfortable static position, perhaps sitting on a pillow or lying down, close your eyes and begin to focus your attention gradually on every part of your body and try to feel each of them one by one. So find a quiet place and immerse yourself in meditation.
3 Walk with mindfulness
You don’t have to stay motionless to concentrate. Walking meditation is a technique you can use when you are unable to sit still for long periods of time. This simple technique requires you to pay attention to the movement of your feet and legs as you lift them off the ground and bring them back down. Walking meditation is usually practiced very slowly. Try it just by taking a few steps down the corridor: the slower you go, the better your concentration will be…
4 Play the “5 things" game
All you have to do is to find five things you normally don’t really pay attention to: the colour of the walls in your room, the sensation of touching your clothes on your fingertips, the perception of how the weight of your body is distributed when you walk. Try to ask yourself: am I really appreciating these things? Do I really know how they are made? If you focus on five new things a day, even just for a few minutes, you will discover moments of rare beauty, so let your mind explore and rediscover different sensations…
5 Silence your smartphone
Sometimes when we spend time with family or friends, we are only with them physically. We rarely give others our full attention, but living a conscious life means being fully present. Putting your phone on silent mode or turning off the TV will allow you to truly engage with the people who are with you. They will realise it and, if they are also doing the same, you will soon notice a marked improvement in your relationship: when we are fully present with someone, the situation becomes intimate, sacred and special.