5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness, According to Wellness Guru Nicoletta de la Brown
On a global scale, it’s been a wild ride for nearly two years. Added to the onslaught of the pandemic came the mental strife stemming from it atop the everyday hurdles life throws in “normal” times. Moreover, in correlation to people working from home was the increase of accessibility on a 24/7 scale.
“As soon as COVID hit, everyone was in everyone's home without permission sometimes,” says multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and wellness influencer Nicoletta de la Brown. “It’s like, ‘Wow, I didn't know that my meeting was going to be in my home with my kids.’ It became a kind of wall that was lost between my personal space to my professional space.” Subsequently, this lack of transition from the workplace to home brought discussions around mental wellbeing and pandemic fatigue to the fore.
“Being in a state of great comfort promotes healthful living,” states de la Brown. One vital way to reclaim your boundaries and therefore experience healthful living is to practice mindfulness in every aspect of your life. In a world riddled with uncertainty and stressors, it behooves us to prioritize our mental health in ways in which we can control it. Here, de la Brown shares five important ways to practice mindfulness.
Engage your senses
Using the 5-4-3-2-1 method is a grounding technique that helps you tap into all five senses to minimize anxiety. “I will look for five things I can see, four things I can touch, three things I can smell, two things I can hear, and one thing I can taste. You can rearrange them in any order that makes sense for you. That’s a way for me to kind of get back into my body,” says de la Brown. Furthermore, she ties in wellness with luxury by indulging in splurges, such as ultra-premium sheets. “I make sure I have something beautiful to see and touch. ‘What do my sheets feel like?’ ‘What thread count are they?’ It’s like looking at how you can wrap your senses in luxurious things to practice mindfulness too.”
“I've noticed that with technology, if you pay attention when you're sending a text, you tend not to breathe because you're thinking about the text,” mentions de la Brown. “So, because we're so connected to tech, we're not breathing at the depth that we should be.” Whether you’re into deep breathing or belly breathing, the key is to take part in a breathing exercise daily. De la Brown recommends a practice she uses called box breathing. As you breathe in and out, draw a box in your mind. Also, wearing a Komuso necklace, a beautiful tool that helps the mind relax through focused breathing, will help you be aware of your breathing.
Dedicate 2-5 minutes to meditate throughout the day whenever a reset is needed. Keep in mind that meditation looks different for everyone. For example, de la Brown’s meditation practice consists of putting on a playlist while taking a walk or dancing. But, she says, “Rethinking meditation and the length of it, you could do meditation for the length of a song. So, put a song on and get back into your body.” She also recommends guided meditation, such as this one by rapper RZA.
Invest in rest and mindful eating
Part of boosting your mental wellbeing is taking the time to invest in how you sustain yourself with food and rest. “I have a gorgeous bowl and beautiful golden utensils that I eat with. I don’t use plastic utensils because I love the planet, and I also deserve to eat using lovely things,” de la Brown states. “I also practice eating with no distractions and truly allow myself to be nourished. At least one of my meals a day is not connected to something else - like I don't eat in front of a show.” So, quit multitasking while you eat and be present with the meal.
De la Brown also stresses the importance of rest. She adds, “I believe that sleep is when we heal and restore. So, I invest in beautiful sleep. I bought myself a gorgeous full bed set - a complete bedding ensemble - that I fell in love with while vacationing. I should have the dreamiest sleep of my life when I am at home too.”
By stepping into nature, you get a gentle reminder that there’s a world so much bigger than yourself - which helps you keep difficult situations in life in perspective. De la Brown says, “No matter where I am, especially when I travel, I look for nature - water, plants, animals. You don't make the sunrise or set. You don't make birds fly or fish swim, but it still happens, and so that's the moment where you can step out and remind yourself there's so much more to life than whatever that thing is that you're trying to figure out.”