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July 1, 2022
Stepping outside on the first really warm day of summer can feel like coming alive again. When the sun is shining and the world turns green, spending time in nature can lift your spirits.
Summer is the perfect season to carve out time to slow down, appreciate, and connect with what’s around—and inside—of you. Summer can also be a busy season, filled with social engagements, cookouts, and the return of warm-weather festivals and events; but when you practice mindfulness, you give yourself permission to step out of this constant flow and rush of life.
Mindfulness is the state of being consciously present and in the moment. When you practice mindfulness, you become aware of your surroundings and all the sensations you’re experiencing. Attend to your thoughts and feelings, acknowledge them without judgment, and gently draw your attention back to the moment in all its beauty.
Read on for some ideas for practicing mindfulness this summer.
You don’t need to carve out hours from your day to practice mindfulness. As you spend time outside this summer, give yourself permission to take a 10 or 15 minute mindfulness break, wherever you are.
If you’re meeting friends at the pool, get there a little early, find a comfy spot to sit, and be present to laughing children, cool water, and the beauty of the sun on the bottom of the pool. If you’re commuting to work, use your time walking to the train or waiting for your ride share as a mindfulness moment to take in the world and the summer weather around you. Even a few minutes of mindful awareness can give you some inner peace for a stressful commute.
Summertime brings a host of tiny, miraculous things to appreciate: summer berries bursting with sweetness, the sounds of birds and insects, blooming flowers.
Each of these small things can be a focus for practicing mindfulness. What do you taste, see, smell, hear, or feel when you step outside? When you spend the time to notice and be mindful to these little things, you are also practicing gratitude for and connection with nature.
Some of us love the heat of summer—but some of us are all about the air conditioning. Even if you’re not a warm weather fan, mindfulness can change your relationship with your surroundings and give you a new perspective on what you’re experiencing.
Find a quiet, sunny spot to spend a few minutes (don’t forget your sunscreen!). Notice where the warmth hits your body, and how different it feels on your head compared to your hands or face. Sweat dripping down your back? Notice your feelings of being grossed out or worried about sweat stains—then release those thoughts and let the sweat take whatever path it wants. Practicing mindfulness when you’re not totally comfortable can be an opportunity for growth.
At the end of summer, it feels good to look back and feel that you attended to the season and to yourself as you moved through it. Consider making mindfulness a part of your summer to nourish yourself in this season.
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