Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment; being fully aware of thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgement. The practice has been gaining attention recently as it can benefit physical and mental health. I find it as a way to enjoy life more fully and be more connected. It is not the same as meditation as many would believe. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, including using your skin care routine.
In mindfulness you are attending specifically to what you are doing in the present and nothing else and using all of your senses to experience the moment. You are not thinking about your to do list or figuring out how to solve a problem. You become aware of the space you are in and the sensations you feel; being in touch with your body, your mind and your spirit. It’s a practice in increasing awareness. You become an observer not a participant and you accept what is going on without judgment. It can help you achieve a different state of mind and open your heart.
Mindfulness has three components; it is done on purpose (deliberate), it is in the moment, and it is non judgmental – you don’t need to determine if something is good or bad. Mindfulness can have a profound effect on mood and stress. It allows for more focused thinking such that it improves work.
It naturally decreases stress by not having a response to the situation, it also may help you to gain insight. It can stimulate curiosity and thus creativity. It helps to develop our five senses, although you may not want to assign all of your senses to all situations.
Anyone can practice mindfulness and it does not require special equipment or environment.
Mindfulness is the opposite of ‘autopilot’. It teaches us to be present in our own lives. Autopilot can sometimes seem like the norm in our hyper connected world. Mindfulness can help us realize the beauty of life and become more grateful. Mindfulness has been found to relieve anxiety, stress and depression and possibly help with insomnia and pain.
Here are some ways that people practice mindfulness:
Meditate. I’m no expert but I think of meditation as the opposite of mindfulness. In meditation I try to empty my mind or to focus on one thing. But there are ways to use meditation to practice mindfulness Some people are turned off by meditation or find sitting for long periods uncomfortable. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, so pick one that works for you.
Walking. I often walk to clear my mind of clutter so that I can focus on a problem that needs solving or come up with ideas for something I am working on. This, however, is much different than mindfulness. So although walking can work sometimes for mindfulness, it doesn’t always work. If you are walking for mindfulness, here are some things to focus on.
How does your foot feel as it hits the ground and then rolls to the toe? Is there a breeze? How does the air feel against your skin? Do you feel your muscles working? Are your arms swinging? What about your neck; is it tense or relaxed? What temperature is it? What do you see; clouds, houses, other people? What do you hear; birds, cars, other activity? Take a deep breath. What do you smell? Is there a taste to the air? Try to register as many inputs as you can without judging them, just recognizing them and experience them.
Cooking. Cooking is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness since it naturally involves several senses. What does the food look like? How does it smell. How do you feel when you stir the pot? Taste the food. How does it feel and taste in your mouth?
Sweeping. Even cleaning and sweeping can be a mindful practice. How do your arms feel as you move the broom? How does the broom sound against the floor. How much dirt is on the floor (no judgement!)? Don’t be angry about cleaning, just experience it.
Dancing. Dancing is one of my favorite things for many reasons and its easy for me to loose myself in it. Many times I dance for exercise, but many times I will turn on music and dance just to move and feel my body move.
Drinking wine, beer, or coffee. These beverages all have rather complex taste profiles. Take a small sip and hold it in your mouth or swish it around. How does it taste? Can you compare the tastes to other tastes? Smooth, fruity, chocolatey? How does it smell? What is the color? How does your throat feel as you swallow?
Watch a sunset. Another one of my favorites as we have beautiful sunsets to see outside our back door. Sunsets involve many colors, do you see all of the colors? How does the air feel? Does it change as the sun sets?
Standing in line. When you are doing things that can make you impatient, you can use those moments for mindfulness. Take a deep breath. Notice the colors on people’s clothing around you. What are the sounds around you?
Art. By no means do I have any skill when it comes to drawing. However, I recently joined a Facebook group with friends who wanted to draw daily. I love it. It’s made me realize how much of a mindfulness practice drawing can be. Drawing involves really looking at an object to see the different shapes and colors that are there.
Skin Care. What would this blog be if I didn’t talk about skin care as a mindfulness act? There are many way that skin care can be involved in a mindful practice. A customer of mine was the first to bring this up when she told me about a book she read that spoke of using soap in a mindful practice. When you wash your hands with a bar of soap, notice the time it takes for the suds to develop. Feel the temperature of the water and the feel of the soap against your skin. Does the soap have an aroma? Are the suds creamy? Really notice how it feels as you rinse the soap from your skin.
Make mindfulness a part of your morning or evening routines by focusing on your skin care routine. Focus on your posture, the smells, the humidity in the room, the sight of a product and how it feels against your skin.
A facial routine also works well for mindfulness and I think many women already know this and do practice mindfulness while doing their facial routine. As you do with the soap, notice how the cleanser feel against your skin? If you are using Meadow Mist cleanser, feel the jojoba beads against the skin and how they gently exfoliate. How do the suds feel against your skin? How does it feel as you rinse it off? Spritz your face with a Face and Body mist. Notice the smell. Notice how the droplets feel against your skin.
Apply your moisturizer (Springtide) to your face. How does it feel as you rub it into your skin? How does it smell? Try doing a facial massage with Parsley Serum. Use several drops on your fingertips. Start at the jawline and massage in small circles. How does your skin and the underlying muscle feel against your fingertips as you gently massage? Continue up around your eyes and forehead. Do you notice an aroma to the product? Whatever thoughts arise that are outside of the present, let them go.
This may also greatly improve your sleep by ridding your mind of the thoughts of the day.
Do you have a way in which you practice mindfulness? Did you get any tips from reading this about something you might try?
Here are some articles for further reading.
Harvard Gazette https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/wandering-mind-not-a-happy-mind/
I like to take my time while applying lotion to my hands. I stop what i’m doing to inhale the scent. I feel how good it is to rub the lotion into my hands. It only takes a few minutes but it’s something I do every day and reminds me to enjoy the moment.