5 Tips for Achieving Mindfulness

Being mindful is easy and enjoyable.

A woman is practicing mindfulness and feeling joyful.

(Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com)

Mindfulness is about embracing the moment and being in the here and now. Being mindful is truly liberating, for our true home resides in this moment, writes Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh on Mindful. Engaging this state is a brush with the miracle of being truly alive and is a place of true joy.

Mindfulness is simply an awareness of the moment without judgement, according to the American Psychological Association. It hearkens from Buddhist practices some 2,600 years ago and has now moved into Western mainstream psychotherapy. Yoga, chi gong, and tai chi incorporate mindfulness into their movement practices, yet you can also do it here and do it now. No props are needed and there is no fee.

Practicing mindfulness for a few minutes each day may offer improved concentration, clarity, calm, acceptance and compassion, plus a developed insight and intuition, even an increase in immune functioning. You can achieve this when walking, sipping a glass of water, and by simply breathing.

Accessing the here and now is so simple to do. Here are five steps to help you come home to joyfulness.

Set time aside each day

It can be five or ten minutes, whatever you feel you can do. Simply make a commitment to be there. This is your special time to release your thoughts.

This is also your moment to relish and turn off that autopilot where the mind wanders forgetfully. Ever wonder how that full bag of chips you just opened is now empty? This, according to Mindful, is your wandering mind at the helm. Now connect to this magical moment, described as a “bicep curl for the brain” by Mindful.

Sit comfortably

Relax cross-legged on a pillow or in a chair with your feet on the floor. The key word here is comfort, as you want to sustain this position for the length of your mindfulness session. You will wish to focus on your breath and not have your thoughts hijacked by a stiff leg.

A woman sits comfortably at her desk and practices mindfulness.

 (fizkes / Shutterstock.com)

Be aware of your breath and celebrate

Be aware of your in-breath and your out-breath. Simply be there with it. When you are cognizant of each in-breath and out-breath, your wandering mind will stop, according to Hanh. You will not be thinking of past regrets or future worries as your mind is with your breath in the now.

Now, enjoy your breath, understanding that your breath means you are alive. As you breathe in and out, celebrate this miracle.

Follow your breath

Be with your breath for the duration of each inhale and exhale. The longer you keep following the breath, the longer your awareness lasts, according to Hanh. If a thought interrupts you, be aware of it, then return to focusing on the breath. This will foster concentration. As Hanh explains, you will become your in-breath and your out-breath. Soon, your breath transforms, becoming slower and deeper. Welcome to the here and now!

A woman focuses on her breath as she practices a mindful meditation outside.

(Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com)

Be aware of your body

While breathing deeply, Hanh advises that you repeat, “Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body.” This fuses the mind and body into one, into the here and now, enabling you to feel totally alive.

Now notice if there is tension in your body. The mind, when connected to the body, may help to release any tension. As Hanh explains, when there is peace in the breath, it may transpose to create peace in the body. Say to yourself, “Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I can release tension in my body.”

A man takes a break from work and practices mindfulness at his work.

(fizkes / Shutterstock.com)