Mindfulness is trending. It seems like every other week there is a new influencer promoting their favorite type of meditation app or podcast. But are these habits really life-changing, or is this just the new social media fad?
Let’s set one thing straight: mindfulness is important. While we don’t often jump on the bandwagon just because something is trending, there is a reason that practicing mindfulness and different types of meditation have become so popular.
Because they work!
What Is Mindfulness?
Though the benefits of mindfulness are complex, the actual practice of mindfulness is not.
Simply put, mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your body and its surroundings. From taking a deep breath when you feel yourself grow angry to doing full body scan meditation practices in the bathtub, mindfulness exercises come in all shapes and sizes to suit your mental health needs.
Depending on the specific mind in question, mindfulness can look like many things. For some people, practicing mindfulness can mean a full-on intervention.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, is an eight-week immersive program that seeks to apply mindfulness and meditation practices to medicinal purposes. Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, this stress reduction program has been shown to help people struggling with their mental health and symptoms of depression reconnect with their body and mind in a healthy way. MBSR is one of many types of mindfulness focused on self-awareness and self-compassion.
But MBSR is not a synonym for mindfulness.
Mindfulness looks different for everybody because everybody’s mind is different. For a beginner just getting into the practice, the best mindfulness exercises might be something as simple as taking deep breaths or practicing mindful eating.
So long as you’re aware of your headspace and are focused on the present moment, almost anything can be considered a mindfulness exercise.
The biggest thing to remember about mindfulness is not to compare yourself to others. The purpose of this practice is to let go of expectations and embrace yourself, not to look to others as benchmarkers. You can’t practice mindfulness if you’re busy worrying about other people.
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
When it comes to the benefits of mindfulness, everything relates to your mental health journey. Mindfulness is designed to better your relationship with yourself, so its benefits will manifest in your own body.
- Psychological: The most obvious (and most expected) benefit of mindfulness is how it impacts your mind. When you spend time intentionally understanding your headspace, you become more empathetic to your struggles. Mindfulness specialists suggest that strengthening your connection to yourself can help you master your emotions, increasing your confidence, self-control, and mental clarity.
- Biological: Mindfulness also benefits the biology of your body. Meditation practices can promote healthy hormone levels and ease stress in the body at a cellular level. Some medical professionals even suggest that mindfulness can relieve the symptoms of certain mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders.
Why Is Mindfulness Important?
Mindfulness is a great tool to realign yourself with your body, and it has a place in the daily routines of your life, including your skincare.
Like any other daily routine, a well-balanced skincare routine can provide some much-needed structure to your busy day. With a few minutes carved out in the morning and night, doing your skincare routine brings some balance and an opportunity for relaxation to your everyday life. When you think of it that way, your skincare routine is essentially a designated time for self-care.
And like other types of self-care, the benefits of a skincare routine focused on wellbeing are endless.
From a mental health perspective, mindful activities help your brain break cycles of negative thinking. So, when you combine that with self-compassionate skincare practices, your skincare routine can actually help you think more positively about yourself. By setting aside time to pamper your skin, you are pampering yourself.
How Can You Add Mindfulness to Your Skincare Routine?
Practicing mindfulness in your skincare looks different than other mindfulness exercises. First, it’s a lot harder to meditate while applying different serums or creams to your skin. To get the most out of a mindful skincare routine, adapt your understanding of mindfulness to apply to self-care strategies.
Once you’ve let go of the pressures of fancy types of meditation and are paying full attention to your mind and skin, you are ready to begin a mindful skincare routine.
Prep Your Space
Where you do your skincare routine matters. A welcoming space is essential for a welcoming skincare routine. Whether you have a vanity in your room or prefer the larger bathroom mirror, it is essential that you feel comfortable and relaxed while doing your skincare.
To prepare your space for what is essentially a self-care treatment, surround yourself with things you love – and get rid of the things you don’t. If you love the smell of the ocean, replace the smell of a full laundry hamper with a beach-themed candle. If you prefer to connect with more botanical aspects of nature, try doing your skincare outside. Whatever you bring to your space, be mindful of how it can better your skincare experience.
Slow It Down
When it comes to skincare, we tend to speed up the process. And while we’re all for simplicity and Skinimalism, that doesn’t mean you should rush through your routine. After a long day, it can be easy to switch on autopilot and let your mind wander but doing so can separate you from your skin. To connect best with your mind and body, slow down your skincare, taking each step at a time.
Being aware of your body doesn’t mean examining the surface of your skin. Much more important than your outward appearance, skincare is designed to improve how you feel in your skin. As you move through your skincare routine, focus inward on how you feel and respond to what your body needs.
Close Your Eyes
The fastest way to connect with yourself is to close your eyes. When you aren’t distracted by your surroundings, you can more easily focus on what your mind has to say. By giving yourself your full attention during your skincare routine, you make the practice a more intimate one.
It may seem cheesy, but positive self-talk really works. To build on the self-compassion of your skincare routine, repeat affirmations of love while you care for your skin. Even something as seemingly small as saying “I am beautiful” while you rinse off your makeup can hugely impact your well-being over time.
Like how you are intentional with your space, you should be intentional with your mind. Before you start your skincare, take a moment to ask yourself what you want to get out of this time.
Maybe that’s 10 minutes of quiet away from your family, or maybe that’s a time to wipe away the stress of the day. Whatever you need, take a moment to become aware of it. Your skincare will be more effective if you do.
Focus on Touch
Self-touch is an essential part of skincare. Thinking of it: most skincare products and tools are designed to be applied with the hands. One of the best ways to connect with yourself is to touch your skin, so make the most of your skincare routine by focusing on that physical sensation.
Remember You Are Caring for Yourself
When you perform your skincare routine like self-care, the meaning of it becomes so much more. You’re not just cleaning your face; you’re caring for yourself. Like how you would take care of somebody else, allow yourself to be gentle with yourself as you move through your skincare routine. You deserve nothing less.
The Bottom Line
Mindfulness looks different for everybody, so don’t stress out if it doesn’t go well the first time. The beauty gurus you see on social media have had hours and take after take to practice their mindfulness routine, so their experience is going to differ from yours, especially if you’re still a beginner. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect when it comes to mindfulness and exercising intentionally mindful skincare.