We’ve launched a 30 day Mindfulness Challenge for all of you to try and would love your feedback. The challenge is a fantastic way to start living a more fulfilling life, by actively practicing mindfulness.
The challenge combines the benefits of mindfulness practice with breakthroughs in neuroscience, psychology, and other cognitive sciences. During these 30 days, you will regularly practice different mindfulness techniques to grow your awareness.
What does mindfulness mean?
Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment. It is being aware and engaged in the present moment-to-moment experience, both inwardly and outwardly. It’s observing our actions, emotions, and surroundings without placing judgments or preconceived ideas on how things should be. The emphasis is on the now.
How does mindfulness work?
With mindfulness, your goal is to be in the present moment without relying on past or future thoughts. It teaches you to be aware of the sensations, thoughts, and emotions in the present moment without judging them or yourself for having them. You also gradually learn to quiet the mind when it wanders off. Techniques include meditation, awareness exercises, yoga, etc.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Reduces anxiety and depression, and reduces stress
Mindfulness can help people with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression by teaching them how to live in the moment. That prevents them from dwelling on negative thoughts about themself or anxious predictions about what might happen in the future.
Mindfulness has even been shown to accelerate recovery from addiction, facilitate weight loss/manage obesity, and lower blood pressure.
Helps you focus better
Mindfulness can help amplify your focus and attention in the present moment. In doing so, it also helps quiet those nagging thoughts that keep distracting you from whatever task you have at hand. It’s been known to improve productivity as well as being a great tool for creatives who need that extra time to be more creative. Whether you’re working on a project or trying to write an article like this one, mindfulness can help
Form of pain management
Chronic pain sufferers may benefit from mindfulness because of the effects on mood and physical condition. Mindfulness exercises involve focusing on your body’s sensations, such as breathing, which can contribute to better awareness of your posture and actions. And that can help you become more conscious of how you’re treating your body.
It also teaches you to be more present and aware of the pain itself, rather than what it means or how much it hurts. Mindfulness helps people learn to accept their pain without judging themselves for having it or its effects on other areas of life. It allows you to get to know the sensations associated with chronic pain and living with it at the moment, rather than dwelling on negative thoughts about yourself or anxious predictions about what might happen
Limitations of mindfulness
Limitations of mindfulness can include becoming an inflexible, judgemental observer of your thoughts and feelings; rigidly defining how you should be feeling; relying too heavily on the practice to solve problems.
How to complete the 30 day mindfulness challenge
The challenge schedule shows which mindfulness activity needs to be completed each day. When you click on the mindfulness exercise in the challenge schedule, you will be given details on how to complete the mindfulness activity. Once you are done with the activity, you can simply mark it as complete. (Provided you have signed up for the 30 day mindfulness challenge.)
Basics of completing each mindfulness exercise
While the details of each mindfulness activity may differ, the basics are generally the same
The purpose of mindfulness is to be aware of your surroundings, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judging them. So while you are completing each activity, keep in mind that the point is to observe what is happening within yourself, and around you. Don’t judge or try to change anything.
It’s important to pay attention to all 5 of your senses during the mindfulness activities. Be present with what you’re seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting.
Try to focus on one area at a time. So if you’re doing a walking meditation, you can start by observing your body. Whether it has any aches or pain. Simply notice the movements of your legs Slowly shift your attention outwards and observe what you are seeing. Now be present, and focused on what you are seeing or hearing.
Remember, the purpose is simply to be present.
If your thoughts wander, make a note of them, and gently guide yourself back to the present moment. Some people find it helpful to label their wandering thought by simply making a note of the type of thought you are having. For instance “wandering thought,” “judgmental” or “memories.” And then returning back to the here and now.
To give you an understanding of the type of mindfulness activities included in our FREE 30 day mindfulness challenge here are some examples:
Mindfulness exercises included in the 30-day mindfulness challenge
Mindfully eat a raisin (Or chocolate)
The purpose of this activity is to slow down and eat a raisin mindfully. If you prefer feel free to substitute the raisin with a bar of chocolate.
1) Sit down in a quiet room with no distractions, and place a raisin in the palm of your hand.
2) Observe the raisin from different angles before you decide to eat it. How does it look?
3) Keep observing the raisin, but don’t touch it for a minute or two. What did you notice?
4) Touch the raisin with one finger and gently turn it around in the light. What do you notice about its shape and color?
5) Gently put the raisin on your tongue and observe how it feels on your tongue. Work your tongue around the edges of the raisin to get a sense of how the raisin tastes and feels in your mouth.
6) slowly swallow the raisin and observe it as it goes down your throat. what do you notice?
Mindful breathing is a simple but powerful exercise that can improve your overall sense of well-being.
1) Sit with your back straight, hands resting on your thighs. Close your eyes and notice the sensations of your breath as it moves through your nose or mouth.
2) Define the border between the in-breath and out-breath with each inhalation and exhalation; stay focused on this point for five breaths.
3) Notice if you’re breathing more deeply than usual. If you are, then continue for 60 seconds; otherwise, you can stop after five minutes.
4) Open your eyes and enjoy the sensations coming from the body for another 30 seconds to one minute.
Walking Meditation exercise
Walking meditation exercises are a great way to cut down on the amount of stress you’re feeling. It can be difficult to concentrate solely on walking without distractions, but it’s important to give your full attention to the act of walking because it will help you become more relaxed.
This is typically done by taking three steps forward and three steps back, focusing on the sensation of the ground under your feet. Here are some pointers for doing this exercise:
1) Find a smooth surface that doesn’t have anything that might trip you up or distract you. An empty parking lot or sidewalk is perfect.
2) Stand erect, take three deep breaths and let your shoulders drop down away from your ears. Now take three steps ahead and three steps behind.
3) Feel your arms swing at your sides and pay attention to the top of your head, focusing on how it feels when the crown makes contact with your scalp. If other thoughts come into your mind while you’re walking, catch yourself and focus back on walking meditation.
4) When you feel ready, take three more deep breaths and stop moving forward. Now bring up an image in your mind of someone or something that brings a smile to your face. Notice the sensation that a smile brings to you physically and mentally at this moment in time. You can also visualize someone or something that gives you a sense of peace and calmness. Once again, notice what experiencing this does to both body and mind.
Please note that you can join our 30 day challenge by signing up with the google login button at the top of this page.