Welcome to this week’s Mindful Monday!
Another (albeit cold) Monday, means another week, and so another opportunity to incorporate mindfulness into our eveyday routines. Mindfulness is easier than you might think to add to your life, and as I’m sure you’ve previously read, it has a number of lasting benefits if you make it a daily and weekly habit in your day-to-day life.
Today, the focus is going to be on fresh air.
Heading well into Autumn, fresh air certainly isn’t difficult to come by. Having a few moments of fresh air can work wonders, with strengthening your immune system, improving your digestive system and improving your energy levels, to name a few. In my eyes, this gives you the perfect opportunity to be mindful. I love taking a walk and getting some fresh air whenever I feel a bit stressed or overwhelmed, and taking a short walk in itself can sometimes be enough to get your head. However, for when this isn’t enough, mindfulness can be a great way to focus on the present moment, exactly as it is. Fresh air allows you to inhale fresh oxygen into your body, rather than air-conditioned, stale air from your office at work, or at home. This means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to carry out its’ normal functions, and more of your energy can be focused on the present day. Incorporating mindfulness into this activity will not only have these clear physical health benefits, but it will also allow you to check in with yourself, focus on your breathing, and give you some time to appreciate the life around you.
Taking a short walk for some fresh air can be great, no matter what time of day. Sometimes, I choose to go for a quick brisk walk first thing in the morning, to get my head in check and prepare myself for the day ahead. Sometimes, if I’m working in the University library, a quick bout of fresh air is enough to refresh my mind so that I can go back and make the most of my concentration. However I’ve also taken a short walk of fresh air after I’ve eaten dinner in the evening. Not only does this help if you want to lose weight, it can also give you the chance to take a time out and appreciate the contentedness of life. Having a small (but consistent) amount of time to yourself in this format can help to boost your general wellbeing. Putting 100% of your focus into going out for some fresh air can be enough to achieve this.
Things to focus on:
- What do you see when you looked at the environment around you?
- What do you hear when you shut off your mind and focus on the sounds resonating in the air around you?
- What do you feel when you take your first step into the brisk fresh air?
- What do you feel every time you place your foot flat on the ground beneath you, one after the other?
- What do you smell in the air when you focus and breath through your nose?
- What do you taste when you inhale the air around you?
Taking a short amount of time to take some fresh air can encourage you to focus on your breathing. Take 3 long, deep intakes of breath, accompanied with exhales, can be enough to regulate your breathing enough to focus on the present. Doing this, with fresh oxygen, with your eyes closed adapts your attention to the here and now, with no need to worry about what has happened in the past, and what will happen in the future. As well as this, the beauty of taking fresh air means you are able to stop and smell the roses along the way. Tuning into all of your senses can only enhance your mindfulness experience, and encourage you not to be distracted from thinking of these past and future concerns.
I would love to hear about your thoughts on taking some fresh air every once in a while, and whether or not it was a good mindfulness experience for you. Please feel free to comment below!