Informal practices

Mindfulness is a way of life, a way of living & being more present & engaged in the only moment that really matters: the here & now.

Informal practices

Mindfulness is a way of life, a way of living & being more present & engaged in the only moment that really matters: the here & now.

There’s an old expression: the past is history, the future is a mystery, the present is s gift which is why it’s called the present. Becoming more consciously aware of the present moment is a beautiful gift, after all it is only in this present moment that we can that we can learn, grow, create & take action.

Informal mindful activities can really help us to cultivate this awareness & attention. As we practice mindfulness in an informal capacity, we gradually start to become more actively engaged & consciously aware of where we are, what we’re doing, how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, as well as enjoying the moment just for the pure joy of being there.

Informal practices can include simple things like walking mindfully, turning off the phone or better still leaving it at home, slowing down, walking about ½ our normal pace, bare feet if possible. Being aware of our feet kissing the ground, the sounds of the birds in the trees, the sun on our face instead of walking on automatic pilot.

I go out everyday with my dog & relish the time in nature: the sun on my face, birdsong all around, the wind in my hair, noticing the blossom on the trees or the leaves turning in Autumn. I even channel a bit of Billy Connelly wisdom when it’s raining: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes! I find it deeply nurturing & replenishing & often use the time to process & plan, which gives me the space & time to be more efficient & productive elsewhere in my life.

Indeed, there have been many studies about how daily time in nature is very beneficial for our wellbeing. Our brain prefers the natural environment to an urban setting. A study by Queensland University states that as little as 30 minutes a week in nature can help boost mental health, reduce cortisol levels, feelings of depression & anxiety, boost feelings of connection, confidence & self-esteem & increase feelings of happiness.

Eating is another way in which we can practice mindfulness. Eating mindfully is a beautiful experience as we become so much more aware of the taste of the food & when we are full rather than shovelling it in mindlessly! Taking sometime to acknowledge the colours & textures on the plate, savouring the smells & taking a mindful munch & really appreciating the taste of the food takes a simple meal to a different level.  

Eating mindfully also helps us to avoid over-eating. Practicing mindful eating on a retreat I hosted, one of my clients discovered when she mindful ate a piece of brownie, that it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable or tasty as she had thought!

Whenever we do something we normally do habitually, in a slightly different way it helps bring us to the present moment. Try brushing your teeth with your other hand & see how much more present & aware you are doing it.

Eventually when we’ve been practicing mindfulness for a while we will gravitate to more mindful every day practices: standing in a queue & being present for a moment or two; coming back to ourselves whilst sitting at traffic lights instead of being irritated we missed the light; taking a pause when we are triggered & choosing how to respond instead of reacting.

As we become more actively engaged & mindful of the moment, we start to notice when we have drifted away with our thoughts & can ground ourselves back in the moment. This helps us to become more consciously aware of our thoughts, watching them like clouds in the sky instead of getting trapped in the narrative & down the rabbit hole with that train of thought before we’re even aware that we are!

If you would like to try some mindful activities, try mindfully walking for a few minutes next time you are in nature, take the first bite of a meal mindfully or practice the mindful walk through nature meditation or a mindfully energizing chair yoga sequence.

Alex is based on the edge of the stunning Cotswolds & has been sharing her love for all things yoga & mindfulness for almost a decade, not just in the UK but also around the world. Her mission is to help everyone discover a more mindful way of living & to encourage them to embrace regular self-care practices for a happier & healthier way of being.

If you would like more information on how to practice mindfulness, meditation & yoga message her at alex@alexbannard.com.

For free resources check out her Facebook group: Mindfulness & Yoga for Self-Care, here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindfulnessyoga4selfcare

Alternatively please check out her website: www.alexbannard.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexbannard/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQlKZJ7MeyYc6lqkv6seISw

Alex is based on the edge of the stunning Cotswolds & has been sharing her love for all things yoga & mindfulness for the decade, not just in the UK but also in Thailand & Germany. Her mission is to help everyone discover their bliss within & to encourage them to embrace self-care

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