With the pandemic still ongoing, trying to manage these unpredictable times can take a serious toll on one’s mental health. It’s normal to experience difficulty in controlling your worry or stress, but learning to find gratitude even in times like these is important for our well-being. Whether your stress stems from problems at work, financial problems, family problems, or anxiety caused by the pandemic, learning mindfulness techniques that utilize the five senses can help you gain an appreciation for the present moment. Mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present and aware of the moment. It can be beneficial by helping us be less reactive and alleviate stress, all while being appreciative of living. Luckily, mindfulness is not difficult to learn and we were born with tools to help us achieve a state of mindfulness: our five senses.
Exploring Mindfulness Through The Five Senses
Every time you sit down to eat it can be used as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Oftentimes, we tend to dive right into our meal without ever thinking about the present moment. Before you even take a bite of food, breathe and collect your thoughts. Slowly take a bite of food and concentrate on the sensation of the food in your mouth. Is it hot? Is it cold? Actively focus on the taste and texture of the food. After swallowing, try to ask your taste buds to recall the taste of the food you just ate. Repeating this process several times will not only help you practice healthy eating habits but will also give you gratitude for the food you are eating and all the tastes you’re experiencing.
There are two ways in which we can utilize our sense of smell to develop mindfulness. Firstly, breathing techniques are a great way to calm the mind and help fight stress. Take a deep breath through your nose and allow all the oxygen to enter your lungs. Remember to be mindful of your breathing, feel the air flow through your nose into the lungs. Hold your breath for about 5-7 seconds, then slowly exhale from your mouth letting out all the air. Practice this pattern frequently to reset your busy mind and appreciate the moment. Another way we can use the nose to create mindfulness is through different smells. Whether you prefer the aroma of flowers, candles or freshly washed clothes, take a moment to deeply inhale those scents and think about how they make you feel.
One reason we may feel stressed and feel as if the days fly by is because our minds are constantly busy. To distract a racing mind, try a simple sight game. For example, look at your surroundings and try to find as many objects with matching colors. You can also use sight to analyze the shape of objects and the distance between them. Although it sounds straightforward, using these techniques helps to place yourself in the present moment and become aware of your surroundings.
Sound is one of the most useful tools for creating mindfulness as we only hear sounds of the present. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Even when it’s quiet there is a slight humming sound. Pay attention to those sounds, notice the patterns and the rhyme of the world around you. Another effective way to find gratitude for the present is through music. Put on your headphones or turn up your speaker and listen to any music that makes you feel happy. Take the time to really listen to every single note and the melody of the song. This will also help you realize the appreciation for living in the moment.
Wherever you happen to find yourself, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and bring your attention to your sense of touch. Start from the bottom and work your way to the top. If you are barefoot, notice how the ground feels on the soles of your feet. If you have shoes on, wiggle your toes and feel them against your socks. Now bring your mind’s attention to where you’re sitting and how you’re sitting. Are you upright? Are you slouched? Perhaps you’re laying in bed, take a moment to think about how comfortable or uncomfortable you may be. This will help you be aware of how you feel and can be used to find gratitude in the small things in life.
Prioritize Positivity Towards Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness may be a simple practice at its core, but that doesn’t always make it easy. As you begin to learn to be mindful and become aware of the present moment, you may notice strong feelings or disorienting thoughts. While it can be helpful to notice your true feelings, many of us fail to approach these difficult feelings with understanding and kindness. These moments are a wonderful opportunity to develop greater empathy and self-compassion over time. Start with practices that are simple and enjoyable. This will allow you to approach mindfulness with a positive outlook which is essential to mastering mindfulness. Whether you choose to take a walk and mindfully engage one or more of your senses, or curl up in a blanket listening to music you love, developing a positive association to the practice is key to attaining gratitude for life.
Using Mindfulness In The Workplace
There are many types of mindfulness practices that one can engage in but the intention is always the same: to be aware of the present moment and learn to be grateful for that opportunity. Mindfulness doesn’t only have to be applied to your personal life, it can also be implemented in the workplace to provide the same positive effects. Employees and employers who engage in mindfulness practices can better manage stressors and create a more efficient work environment. At Alltrust, we provide eMindful services to offer as employee benefits in Florida. They can provide you and your team with the resources and tools to utilize your senses to achieve mindfulness for a healthier lifestyle in and out of the workplace. Contact us today to learn more about how mindfulness can benefit your business.