A simple mindfulness practice to calm the mind and connect with the body.
The following mindfulness practice can be brilliant if you’re feeling a sense of anxiety, doubt, indecision or worry. (Don’t miss the audio download option available below). These emotions often arise when our thoughts are stuck on memories from the past or ‘what ifs’ associated with the future. In other words they pop up when we’re no longer firmly grounded in the present moment. Clarity, balance, peace, joy, a sense of power - all of these states of being exist in the present. In fact, they’re innate to us!
Quieting the mental murmur - or at least not feeling so strongly identified with it - can be a tricky thing to achieve though! For many of us, a sitting meditation practice might feel totally out of reach - or perhaps even stress inducing. If that’s you, don’t worry, you’re not alone and you’re not faulty. The good news is there are other mindfulness practices that harness the mind’s desire to be ‘active and engaged’ - while also inviting us to land back in our bodies.
Sensory awareness practice
This practice invites us to focus attention on our five main senses. Sound, smell, touch, taste and sight. These senses are directly linked with our physical, embodied experience. Our bodies are a physical manifestation of who we are, anchored in the present. You can’t be fully engaged with and ‘in’ your body if you’re mind is looping on thoughts of the past or the future. Hence, when we engage the senses, we naturally bring ourselves back in touch with our bodies and what is present to us NOW. Fully immersing ourselves in this experience is actually a very ‘occupying’ activity for the mind and many of the fears, worries, doubts and anxieties can naturally sink to the background - bringing to light the present situation more clearly.
‘Now’ is your place of greatest power. In fact, it’s the only moment from which you can choose, move and act. By repeatedly practicing this exercise, not only do we strengthen our ability to draw ourselves back to the present moment, but we acquaint ourselves with the feeling of being firmly grounded in our bodies, in our centre and in our power. The more we practice, the easier it is to come back to this state of being.
Give it a try by memorising the bullet points below. Or receive a guided audio file of this practice by signing up to my e-newsletter here.
Find an uninterrupted place to stand or sit (preferably outdoors).
Close your eyes and take a moment to bring your awareness to your body - your feet on the ground and the distribution of weight from left to right and front to back. Then slowly cycle your awareness through your five main senses - giving your full attention to each one in turn.
You might begin with sound - opening to the symphony around you, stretching your hearing sense as far as you can and then inward as far as you can.
Next turn your awareness to your sense of touch - the feeling of the wind or sun on your skin; the air flowing in and out of your body; the touch of your clothing on your skin.
Next tune into your sense of smell; then your sense of taste. Give yourself time to sink into each one.
Finally, gently open your eyes and take in your sense of sight - allowing your eyes to graze and roam around your environment.
Reflect: How do you feel now? Did you gain any insights from your practice?
I’d love to here how you feel after trying the practice. You can contact me here.