Utilising mindfulness techniques and practicing mindful thinking in everyday life is great for natural stress relief and anxiety relief. Mindfulness centres around the idea that we need to focus on the present and live in the moment, stopping ourselves from getting caught up in the past or worrying about the future. By doing this the hope is that we are more likely to enjoy ourselves and be happy and relaxed as a lot of anxiety and stress comes from thinking about things that have happened or things that are yet to happen, rarely are we stressed about something that is happening right now.
With this in mind we would like to share with you one mindfulness technique that you can try out anywhere at any time. It simply involves taking a walk outside, preferably by yourself so that you can be alone with your thoughts, and beginning some mindful thinking. Being outside for this experience is helpful as nature is great for natural stress relief and being out in the elements calms and soothes us. Whenever you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed take a 20 minute mindfulness walk and using the following techniques you can start managing stress and anxiety effectively.
1. What Can You See?
So often we go through life with our eyes metaphorically closed. We do not see even a small percentage of what is around us as we rush from one place to another with little time for observation. As you begin your mindfulness walk start slowly and take the time to really see what surrounds you. It might be nature or people, a city or the countryside. Wherever you go, go with your eyes wide open. Notice any interaction with humans or animals, notice the colours of the sky, the buildings or the trees and see what interesting things you can observe.
2. What Can You Hear?
Similarly to the above, listen carefully to all of the sounds that you can hear. Our brain does not always tune itself in to every bit of noise so we must actively think about what we are hearing and stay focused on it. From the peaceful sounds of birds chirping in a tree to the hustle and bustle of traffic and other people, concentrate on the sounds that are happening externally rather than what is going on in your own head.
3. Enhance Your Sense Of Smell & Touch
These two senses might not be as easy to explore whilst on your walk but if you notice any pleasant smells, try to appreciate it more than usual. Maybe you’ll smell some freshly cut grass or some sweet flowers along the way, think about how beautiful it is and how lucky you are to experience it. Get to know your environment, if you are walking though a forest touch the grass, trees or leaves. Feel the different textures with your hands and take note of how unique each and every thing is.
4. Feeling & Thinking
How you feel internally and externally will become apparent as you go through your mindfulness walk. As you focus on what is happening around you and your senses become hyper aware, you will experience a sense of clarity about yourself. You will notice the external elements, such as cold or hot weather, and how they affect how comfortable you feel. You will also notice that emotions and thoughts will come to the fore, but in a far more rational and non-stressful way than before. Acknowledge any overriding thoughts but do not concentrate on them, put them aside and readjust your focus to the present.
This is the key to mindful thinking.