Few Easy Mindful-Meditation Techniques

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Take a Meditative Walk

Find a place where you can be alone and walk in nature. If you choose, you can listen to soft, meditative music through your headphones. Begin walking slowly, looking down at your feet to watch each step that is taken. Bring all of your attention to your footsteps. How do they feel with each step? Can you feel the difference in surfaces that you’re stepping on? Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” You will be absolutely amazed what the simple act of walking can do for your present-moment awareness. A sense of calm contentment will come over you as you begin to become even more aware of what the present moment has to offer you.

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Explore Old Tastes in a New Way

Use a cube of ice, piece of chocolate or a mint. Place the food in your mouth and focus entirely on how it feels and tastes on your tongue. How does it feel when you bite into it? What about when you chew it? Or swallow it? What sensations do you notice when it’s melting inside your mouth? You can also do this with your meals. Instead of sitting in front of the TV or talking at a dinner table, sit quietly and eat slowly with detailed attention paid to each bite. This will not only focus your mind, it will also affect how much you eat and how the food tastes. Implementing this kind of mindful eating can lower stress, increase satisfaction and even help you lose weight.

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Truly Listen to Music

Play a song, listening closely to the sounds that arise. Journal about where it takes you emotionally, how it makes you feel, the colors that come to mind and the memories that surface. Listening to music without words (i.e., instrumental) is helpful because it shuts off that part of the brain that is trying to decipher, identify and translate meaning. This in turn helps focus your mind only on the music instead of your grocery list, bills or to-do list.

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Focus on a Single Object

Pick any object in your line of sight on which to focus your attention. Without judgment, sit and watch the object with curiosity. The easiest things to watch are animals, children, waves, trees and clouds. If you are not in nature, watching the flame of a candle can be a quick, hypnotic way to get lost in the present moment. Instead of using your mind to label, judge and categorize the object, simply bring your attention to it. Observe the object with a heightened curiosity of what it might do next.

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Overview

According to Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley University, the act of mindfulness can be defined as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment.” Consistently practicing mindfulness techniques can reduce the impact of stress on the brain, improve sleep quality, attention and even increase a sense of emotional and physical well-being. And you don’t have to be a Zen master to cultivate this awareness. “Mindfulness practice does not mean that you try to act like a perfect person,” says Taso Papadakis, Dharma teacher at Golden Wind Zen Center. “There are many paths to access our inherent human wisdom and wake up into the essence of our own life.” If you’re looking for emotional and physical well-being, give one of these eight simple mindfulness techniques a try.

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