If you want to bring more mindfulness into your daily life, consider matching your mindfulness practices to your dominant intelligences. According to the theory of multiple intelligences developed by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University, and discussed in his book "Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century," there are eight different intelligences that describe the ways people relate to information. Your preferred ways to process information are your strengths or dominant intelligences.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I begin with the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence today and proceed with the rest of the intelligences in the upcoming posts.
We engage our bodily-kinesthetic intelligence when we express ourselves through movement and use movement to process information. If you have a strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, it may be easier for you to concentrate when movement is involved. There are many ways to develop awareness through movement. In fact, many types of physical exercises can help you get into the zone, a state of mind where you feel focused, your senses are heightened, and time tends to disappear. So, you can choose whether you want to do yoga or rock climbing to practice mindfulness in movement. Your physical sensations, your breath, the rhythm of the movement, the flow of energy through your body are all good anchors for your attention that can help you get beyond the mental noise. Sometimes, simply being mindful of your posture and remembering to relax your shoulders or do a few shoulder rolls can be a centering technique that can teach you to pay attention to your body signals. Here are a few more examples of kinesthetic practices:
Yoga offers an excellent way to strengthen your mind body connection. We are often concerned with changing, toning, shaping, sculpting, building our bodies. Yoga allows us to experience our bodies and learn to respect their needs. Focusing on the breath, movement and physical sensations helps to quiet the swirl of thoughts in the head and develop better awareness.
A meditative walk not only gently introduces even the most sedentary folks to a more active lifestyle, it can also calm the nerves and clear the mind. You can gain more self-awareness, energy, relieve stress, improve your body image and your mood – all while walking. As you walk, train your attention by noticing your breath and bodily sensations or observing the surroundings. You can also try walking the labyrinth. Here's how Daniel Pink describes his labyrinth walk in his book "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future" :
Dancing is another great way to practice mindfulness by noticing how your moods, ideas, and emotions are expressed through movement. I have to admit that I am biased here because Latin ballroom dancing got me moving throughout college, helped me manage the stress of law school, and allowed me to meet my most wonderful friends for years, including my husband. Dancing is an excellent tool of self-expression. Even if it's just you alone in the room, turn on the music that speaks to you and try expressing what you feel at the moment through movement. No specific structure or choreographed routines – just your emotions flowing through your body.
Hobbies that require you to work with your hands, such as pottery, woodworking, knitting, or cooking, make it easier to focus your mind on the process and away from nagging thoughts.
The rhythmic movement of prayer beads in prayer, meditation, or simply during the repetition of affirmations can also be helpful to people with dominant kinesthetic intelligence.
Do you have any kinesthetic or tactile habits, such as pacing the room when you need to think things over, tossing up a pen, playing with a stress ball? Next time, use these habits as reminders to take a few moments for yourself and clear your head by focusing on the movement.
What kinesthetic practices help you to be more mindful?