Feb 05

The Mindful Body: 5 Ways to Thriving In Your Daily Life

Here are five techniques to help you develop greater mindfulness and thrive more in all areas of your life.

Mindfulness is intentional awareness of your experience as it’s happening. Sounds simple, right? It is pretty simple, but not always easy. The biggest reason it’s sometimes challenging is that most of us have a habit of getting carried away with thinking or feeling, rather than remaining aware of what’s happening in the present moment. We spend an inordinate amount of time in our head. We’re often caught up in planning the future or thinking about the past.

While we can learn to be mindful of anything, including our thoughts and emotions, it’s better to start practicing mindfulness with the body. Our body is easier to pay attention to and gain greater awareness of than thoughts, feelings or other intangible things. Besides, it’s always with us in the present moment!  It’s easier to learn with the body and then later move on to the more challenging areas. And, when we’re caught up in our head, we’re unaware of our body.

It’s very rewarding to gain greater mindfulness of the body.  You may be thinking; but I’m already aware of my body. This is true, but without mindfulness or a similar body–mind practice it’s unlikely that you’ve explored the depths of this. As you develop greater mindfulness you’ll be amazed by what you’ll discover. Your body will literally feel happier and more alive. You’ll gain a greater natural felt-sense of wellbeing. You’ll likely take even better care of your body as you become more attuned to it.

There are many more ways of experiencing than the five senses, but heightened awareness of the basic senses is a great place to start practicing. You use all of these multiple times daily, but after you go through them in a moment, you’ll likely realize how seldom you’re fully there for the experience.  Here are the five ways utilizing the senses to begin practicing greater mindfulness of your body.

  1. Seeing – Mindfulness of seeing begins with simply being aware of what your eyes are taking in in the moment without adding a story to what you’re seeing. Take a moment to look around right now and just notice what you see. What colors, shapes, or objects are you seeing? Are there areas of brightness and darkness? Are there things close up and things far away? Just notice them.

I told you it was simple; right? How often do you do this; just taking in what’s visually available?

  1. Hearing – Take a few seconds to listen to the sounds in your environment. What are they? And, what are they like.


  1. Smelling – Notice any smells with the same simple curiosity as the first two senses: What’s there? What’s it like? Remember it’s more effective to do this without adding a story.


  1. Tasting – Unless you’re eating, you might simply notice sensations on the tongue. Is it wet or dry? Warm or cold?


  1. Touching – This can take many forms, but for now just notice the feel of the floor against your feet, the chair against your back, and your clothing against your skin.

This was probably easy and fairly simple for you. And, also ask yourself what might have been different about this short experience vs. how you are most of the time. Were you more or less present with your experience than is normal? The simplicity of this type of mindfulness can cause us to underestimate its power to create change in us.

With practice we notice deeper and deeper subtleties with each of the senses. Our nervous system calms down and is better regulated for two reasons: We’re spending less time in our head where anxiety is created by thinking of the future. And, our body loves being fully engaged.

If you want to really get the benefits that this can afford, make it a habit by setting the intention to take a few moments several times a day and run through the five senses. Do this as an experiential exercise like we just did. Before long you’ll have a greater felt-sense of happiness and aliveness – You’ll thrive more!

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