What is Mindfulness and How to Practice It?

by Melanie Brosnan, LCPC

5 Senses Mindfulness Meditation

Have you ever felt anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, or simply out of sorts?

All too often we find ourselves thinking of multiple things at a time, focusing on several different projects, trying to manage it all. However, this type of lifestyle can lead to extreme stress and burnout.

Bring Peace to Your Life

mindfulness sign on window

If any of these problems sound familiar, mindfulness may be a useful coping tool for you. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves bringing your focus to the present moment, free from any judgment or interpretation.

The practice of mindfulness will help to ground you in the present moment while bringing peace and relaxation back into your life.  

Practicing mindfulness has multiple benefits such as:

  • increased happiness and optimism,
  • improved sleep,
  • greater focus and concentration,
  • increased empathy and compassion,
  • improved immune functioning and
  • reduced anxiety and stress.

PRACTICE THIS MINDFULNESS MEDITATION daily to help decrease stress levels and improve functioning.

woman in a relaxation class

Tuning In

When practicing mindfulness, you will become conscious of how your body is feeling physically while also becoming more aware of your surroundings. One of the easiest ways to explain mindfulness is “tuning in to what you normally tune out.”

The practice of mindfulness can include various breathing techniques, muscle relaxation, visualization, and guided imagery. 

One of my favorite mindfulness exercises is something called 5 Senses Mindfulness Meditation. I find this practice to be both relaxing and fun because it is a “full-sensory” experience of mindfulness. Whenever you practice this technique, you will be challenged to notice the details that you may have missed if you continued to feed into the anxious or overwhelming thought process that was causing stress. 

The goal of this exercise is to clear your mind and feel an increased sense of peace.

5 Senses Mindfulness Meditation

Orient yourself to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths and begin to notice your surroundings.

1. See

girl meditating in forest

Starting with the sense of sight, take time to notice 5 things within your vantage point. 

What are some of the finer details you may have missed? Are there any cracks in the wall you never noticed before? Or what about the different shades of green in the trees outside? Take time to really look at what is around you.

2. Hear

woman meditating at the beach

Next, begin to tune into 4 different sounds that are present in the current moment. Do you hear the clicking of a clock on the wall? Or maybe you hear cars on a busy road in the distance. Think about the sounds you may have otherwise tuned out.

3. Touch

young man meditating in forest

After you have taken note of these sounds, use your sense of touch to identify 3 different sensations you are experiencing. Does your skin feel hot or cool to the touch? How do the sensations of your clothes feel on your body? Maybe you run your hands over your desk and notice the smoothness of that surface. Pay attention to the uniqueness of each thing you touch.

4. Smell

beautiful lake

Following this sense will be the sense of smell. Take note of 2 unique smells, good or bad, within your space.  

5. Taste

Lastly, using your sense of taste, try to identify a specific taste you are presently experiencing. If there is not any taste you are noticing at the moment, you can place a mint in your mouth or take a sip of drink to achieve this sensation.

man looking pensive

Sense of Clarity

After completing the exercise, you may notice what you were previously stressed about is no longer as strong. You should have a greater sense of clarity on how you want to handle the problem. 

Practice this mindfulness meditation daily to help decrease stress levels and improve functioning.  

Need More Help?

Contact our therapists to discuss this technique and learn additional mindfulness and coping skills to help you work through life stressors, big or small.  

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Ammirati Counseling to ask and inquire about support services that you can receive to help with overcoming feelings of depression, loneliness, stress or anxiety.

Ammirati Counseling is a boutique counseling group with an office in Bannockburnn serving Chicago. Therapists also offer private therapy via remote online. They provide comprehensive care to children, teens, adults, couples, families, and the LGBTQ community.