January is the perfect time to explore new habits and trust us, you don't have to make big changes to notice a difference in how you feel. The lovely Louise Murray, Integrated Health Coach is here to give you her micro mindfulness tips to help start the year feeling more positive.
Let’s bust two of the biggest mindfulness myths…mindfulness doesn’t have to take a long time, and you don’t have to sit still either. Just a few moments of mindfulness can be all you need to give you a little space to slow down, press pause and to ground yourself in the present moment for just long enough to help you re-connect and re-energise for the rest of the day. So today I want to invite you to micro-dose on mindful moments throughout your day and you will start to notice you feel more positive, energised, motivated positive and happy. It’s magical stuff! Lean in on one of these mindfulness tools whenever you feel like you need to press the re-set button on your mood or stress levels. You will come away from each practice with a little more patience, love, and kindness - for yourself and others around you too. Here are three of my favourite ways you can micro-dose on mindfulness as you go throughout your day…mindfulness doesn’t have to be another thing on your already HUGE ‘to do’ list, integrate it into your day with these tools…. A really important thing to remember with mindfulness is that there is no right or wrong way to practice it, just by doing it, you are doing it right – so give the below tools a try and see which you like…
Cup of calmThis is super simple, just make yourself a cup of your favourite warm drink and sit down. I try and pick a herbal tea that will help add to my calmness, like chamomile tea and I try to avoid coffee which can add to anxious feelings. With this ‘cup of calm’ practice we are going to mindfully enjoy our tea. We are going to try and press pause to be fully present and mindfully enjoy the moment. To help us do this, to help us dial down the chatter in our brains, we are going to focus on 3 of our senses - sight, touch, and taste. You are fully immersing yourself in the present moment, using your senses to anchor yourself in the present moment. This is going to allow your allowing your mind to have a break from thinking about the past or the future, which is where our stress and anxiety often stems from. In these two minutes, focus your brain into the present moment by mentally noting down what you are experiencing through your senses...just be open to your senses, rather than try to analyse what’s happening with them. Try and bring in each of your senses in turn; sight, touch, taste, sound, smell. Just notice what you can experience with each sense.
- What can you see in this moment? It could be the colour of the drink in your cup, the leaves in the teabag, the colour of the mug in your hands, any patters on the mug.
- Move onto another sense, perhaps touch - mentally note down what you can feel in this moment. The warmth of the mug in your hands, focus on that warmth in your hands, the texture of the cup, smoothness, any bumps, the weight of the cup in your hands. Just observe and mentally note down what you can feel. No judgement or analysis, there’s no right or wrong here.
- Now focus on the taste, focus on the flavour of the drink. Really savour the taste. What can you taste? Sweetness, bitter notes, herbs.
- And if you can, just take the next minute or so to sit quietly and really enjoy your tea. Really savour the flavour and everything it has to offer your senses. Your mind will probably start to wander, and that’s Ok, just congratulate yourself for noticing and gently bring yourself back to your senses whenever you notice your mind has wandered. Sometimes it helps to label your thoughts as ‘thinking’ and then bring yourself back to your senses again…sight, touch and taste.
Mindful walkingThis is a mindfulness practice you can do with the kids in toe. Simply go for a walk and pay attention to the sights, sounds and all sensations. Really try to focus on bring in the present. When you notice your mind wandering to the chore list or work tasks, just gently bring it back to how you feel walking.
- Bring yourself into the practice by counting your steps as you walk; 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2,.
- Focus on your feet and how it feels to bring each foot onto the ground. Which part of your foot touches the ground first? Last? How does the ground feel? Walk on different surfaces and notice the difference – grass, pavement, gravel…
- What can you hear? What sounds do your feet make as they walk along (crunchy winter leaves are great for this). Can you hear any birds? Can you hear the wind through trees?
- What can you see? Don’t forget to look up. Look up and notice the trees, look at how the light falls through the leaves. Notice the branches and how far they stretch. Notice all the different colours.
- Notice the feeling of the outdoors on your face – the wind, the daylight, the cold crisp air
With mindful walking, you are just tuning in and paying attention and just noticing how all the different elements of your walking experience affect your senses. Kids are great for this as they see the world through such fresh eyes – so invite them to share what they can feel, see, and hear too.
Micro groundingLook around for an object with an interesting shape or texture….a pine cone is great for this! Hold the object in your hand and really bring your full focus to it.
- Look at it as if you are seeing this object for the first time.
- Look at the patterns that run through it, the colour variances, where shadows may fall on parts of it or maybe there are shapes that form within the object.
- Feel how heavy or light it is in your hand
- What does the object feel like? Is it rough, smoothe, bumpy, sharp, soft…
This can be done with any object you have lying around or if you know you are going into a stressful situation, take one of your favourite small objects and put it in your pocket so you can do this calming exercise on the go. By focusing in on your senses for a few moments, you give your mind a little break by coming into your body for a moment - you can break any negative thought cycles and ground and centre yourself.
Louise Murray is a Holistic Health Coach with the qualification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Mindfulness Teacher. She takes a truly holistic approach to health and wellness by nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them with nutrition advice combined with lifestyle and behaviour change, healthy habit formation, mindset tools, mindfulness and self-care practices https://www.livewellwithlou.com @live_well_with_lou