Mindfulness can have different meanings for different people. Depending on your mood, day and environment, you need a unique mindfulness practice that speaks to you. Mindfulness is bringing awareness to our emotions, thoughts, sensations and our environment. 

Start building your mindfulness practice with things you do daily as foundation blocks. Follow these mindfulness practices to get the good vibes flowing:

Mindful Walking

Mindful walking can be a form of moving meditation. When you go out for a stroll, rather than walking mindlessly and thinking about all the things you need to get done, focus on your body and the outside environment. This simply means paying attention to the things around you. Walk as if you are using your feet to push positivity back into the earth. Pay attention to the air; is it warm and welcoming or cool and crisp? Look at the trees and plants around you, notice shape, sizes, flowers and the plants that make you smile. Mindful walking truly allows you to take pleasure in your walk. There is no rush, no hurry to do the next thing on your list and nowhere to go. You are relaxed and calm as you try to clear your mind and notice everything around you.

Mindful Cooking and Eating

Mindful cooking is a change to slow down and increase awareness of what we are cooking and eating. It can be an amazing experience to destress from the day if you allow yourself to clear your mind and be present. Cooking at home allows you to live mindfully and with gratitude. When you cook at home, you grace your food with each cooking step, including washing your food, cooking and eating it. 

When you cook your food, pay attention to the sounds, smells and textures. Each food item has its own characteristics, the crisp sound of slicing a bell pepper or the aroma of garlic when smashed. As you chop and sauté your food, allow yourself to really notice the little things. When you sit down to eat, look at your plate and appreciate how all the ingredients you cooked have come together harmoniously to nourish your body and soul. When you eat, notice the warmth, textures and spices that melt into your mouth. When you eat, just eat. Turn off the TV, close your laptop and silence your phone.

Mindful Dressing

Each morning when you wake up, dress with purpose. Your styles, the colors you choose and how you put your outfit together can tell you a lot about yourself. Clothes have the power to make you feel beautiful, comfortable and confident. Each day you choose your clothing, appreciate how it makes you feel. Mindful dressing will put a smile on your face. You’ll stand up a little bit straighter and feel the motivation to conquer your day. 

Your clothing is an extension of yourself. It is a portrayal of you. If mornings are too hectic for you, choose your clothes the night before. Rather than dressing as quickly as possible to rush out the door in the morning, allow yourself to take a moment before bed to put together an outfit that makes you feel stunning. With that being said, if there is anything in your closet that makes you feel less than comfortable, give it away or donate it. Each piece of clothing you own represents who you are. 

There are many reasons people practice mindfulness. It can support you, help manage stress, bring attention to things that need to be improved for a better experience, and help you become more aware of your actions for higher levels of satisfaction.

By Dr. Nirali Patel