Mindfulness is a state of presence, existing at the moment and holding mindful awareness of one’s surroundings without judgment.
We are all capable of mindfulness, but for many of us, it is not a skill we practice often. It can be easy to get caught up in reactive thinking, self-judgment, comparisons, and anxious thinking that pulls us out of the moment we are in, pulling our thoughts in all different directions.
So let’s take a moment to practice mindfulness now: rest your eyes, take a deep breath: in and out. Notice your existence at this moment, in this space.
And now, once you’re ready, let’s get into the benefits of mindfulness and learn more about the mindfulness exercises available to you.
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing.
Mood Support and Regulation
Mindfulness can help reduce stress levels and lift the spirits. The stress hormone cortisol is meant to be released to benefit us in the short term when we are in immediate danger. Cortisol puts our body on high alert, triggers the release of adrenaline, and helps us react quickly to protect ourselves (fight or flight).
Chronic stress, however, can wear on the body. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to increase oxygen flow and lower stress, which can, in turn, boost the mood.
Mindfulness exercises can help shift the brain into alpha wave mode, a relaxed state that promotes calmness and creativity.
Reduced Feelings of Tension
Stress is the body’s natural way of responding to challenges and changes. But, while beneficial in the short term, ongoing stress can negatively impact our physical wellbeing. If you hold tension in your body–you are unfortunately familiar with this predicament.
The good news is that mindfulness can help! By lowering stress levels and improving blood flow, mindfulness can help ease physical tension. So unclench your jaw, roll back your shoulders, shake out your legs, and get ready to help the tension melt away as you engage in yoga and mindfulness exercises.
Mindfulness can help settle the mind, making you more empathetic and self-aware, which can ultimately improve your self-control. By sitting with your thoughts, you will become more seasoned in taking time to think through things, which can reduce impulsive behavior.
Mindfulness can also boost tolerance support by building empathy and working through self-judgment.
If you ever find yourself cycling through negative or self-deprecating thoughts, mindfulness can help regulate these emotions.
Improved emotional regulation is one of the main reasons people try (and stick with!) mindfulness.
When experiencing negative thoughts or emotions, engaging in mindfulness can help you identify and accept these feelings, sitting with them without judgment. Over time, this practice can equip you with the skills to help manage and regulate negative emotions as they arise.
Mindfulness exercises can actually help your brain become more aware and attentive. By taking time to just focus and pay attention to the present without judgment, meditation practitioners find that they become more attentive over time.
One study even found that participants were better at picking images that were shown to them at high speed after a few months of practicing mindfulness than they could beforehand.
Which Mindfulness Exercises Should I Try in 2022?
The body scan is a meaningful and easily accessible form of mindfulness. Simply sit or lay down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Then focus on each body part, starting with your toes and moving up. As you scan, notice and acknowledge any parts of the body that are holding tension. Take time to soften and relax them before moving forward.
Once you have gotten to the top of the head and have relaxed every body part, your scan is complete. Take a few moments to breathe deeply and bask in the relaxation!
Believe it or not, something as simple as deep breathing can help cause stress to dissipate. With mindfulness meditation, you must inhale deeply and slowly through the nose and focus on feeling the breath move down your chest and into your belly. Then, exhale through the mouth, letting out a sound as you do.
You can also time your breaths through the nostrils, inhaling for four seconds, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight seconds. This practice can help recenter your thoughts, regulate your rhythm, and ground you in times of stress.
Mindful Listening and Seeing
Mindful listening and seeing can help you cultivate an internal stillness that will help you show up more fully and be present when communicating with others. To practice, sit, or lay in a comfortable position. For mindful listening, take one to three minutes to focus on listening.
Try to hear the smallest sounds, the ones you normally don’t even register.
For mindful seeing, look around your space and make a note of anything you normally miss, such as patterns on a ceiling or the way the light reflects off an object. If your thoughts start to drift, that is, acknowledge without judgment and gently pull them back to what you’re listening to or seeing.
Pause for Self-Love
Pausing for self-love is a wonderful way to practice self-compassion and break away from negative thought patterns. When you are feeling stressed or experiencing self-judgment, take a moment to be gentle with yourself.
Pause what you are doing, close your eyes, and focus on your breaths. You can hold your hands to your chest or hug yourself–whatever feels comfortable and loving for you.
Acknowledge your feelings, and offer yourself kind words. You can try finishing the sentences: “I forgive myself for…”, “I accept within myself…”, “I love myself because…”, or you can simply repeat affirmations like, “I am loved,” “I am worthy,” “I am capable,” “I am enough” or even–simply – ”I am.”
Grounding With the Five Senses
This technique can help you ground yourself and settle your thoughts during times of stress or panic.
Take a deep breath, look around you, and name: five things you can see, four things you can touch (and touch them!), three things you can hear (try to pick out quieter sounds, too), two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
This practice can help you recenter if you are feeling overwhelmed or deep in negative thoughts.
Mindful eating can help you become more present and attentive. To practice this mindful eating exercise, take the time to be fully aware of the sensations you experience when eating.
- How does each specific forkful feel?
- What are you tasting, what are you smelling?
- What colors and textures are you seeing on your plate?
As you eat, chew slowly, noticing how each bite makes you feel. What flavors are you picking up on? What are you enjoying in each bite?
The Bottom Line
Much like CBD, mindfulness can help promote muscle relaxation, settle the mind, and ease tension.
You can further benefit from mindfulness by incorporating CBD into your practice.
Practice deep breathing or pausing for self love while relaxing in the tub with the Slumbering Chamomile CBD Bath Soak, roll a bit of the Unwind Roller along your wrists before grounding with the five senses to further destress, or fully center yourself in the present by engaging in mindful eating with our Buddha Berry CBD Tea.
Make CBD a part of your journey to mindfulness. Check out our collection of edibles, oils, smoking blends, and topicals at The Brothers Apothecary shop!