How to Practice Mindfulness Without Meditation
Data shows that millennials have become more dedicated to practicing mindfulness than generations before them, with many young people citing meditation as an effective way to find focus and bring relaxation during stressful times. But what if meditation doesn’t work for you? We talked with mindfulness advocate and yoga teacher Jenay Rose to uncover three different things you can do to bring a sense of serenity to your day.
Follow Your Breath
Rose tells us that even though breathing is something your body does automatically, it’s constantly overlooked. “There’s a difference between the autonomous, short, empty breath and mindful, complete inhalations and exhalations,” she explains. “You don’t need to stop what you’re doing, go somewhere else, or have any equipment to practice this incredible form of mindfulness.”
To begin, pay attention to your breathing. Rose asks, “How is your heart beat? Feel your chest. Notice your stomach moving in and out. Inhale deep into the base of the belly, feel the air rise up through your chest and into the top of the throat.” Next, she says to exhale slowly with control and repeat, continuing as long as you like. “Notice that as you give your breath the attention it deserves, inhale smoothly and fully, and exhaling equally, your mind has found a calm center.” She says you may feel more relaxed and peaceful, though all you’ve done is breathe as you do every single moment. Nailing your breath can be a superpower when it comes to finding focus and calm.
Move With Intention
“We are constantly moving at what feels like the speed of light!” Rose reminds us, and we agree. “It can feel like we’re always going, shifting, changing and adapting to what’s going on… but so few of us slow down enough to notice how incredible we are.” To point out our power as humans, Rose says to pay attention to even the smallest things your body can do. “Moving your fingers, stepping with your feet — with every movement, we have the opportunity to do it purposefully,” she says. “And this can be applied to literally everything.”
To be a human that is BEING rather than just a human being, Rose suggests thinking about the exact task or movement happening, even when it’s super small. “This is a great way to bring yourself back into the present moment, which is mindfulness at its very soul,” she explains. “Mindfulness does not have to be a spiritual journey that takes years. You can start being mindful in this exact moment.” So, as you read on, slow down, digest the words and consider what you’re doing. Pretty amazing stuff.
Focus Your Gaze
Need a go-to trick for moments when you feel overwhelmed? Rose says it can be as simple as focusing your eyes on an on an object that’s right in front of you. “This could be a pretty color on the carpet or a plant on the table,” she notes. To focus effectively, “Walk your eyes around the object; feel it if you’d like. Now, hold it in your hand and notice its weight. When you give yourself just a moment to completely tune into an object, you can gain a sense of calm and content.” Look, you’re already being more mindful!