Mindfulness can make an incredible difference in your life, helping to combat everyday stressors such as daily work stress, ease anxiety and strengthen relationships.
Start small. Incorporating mindfulness into your day requires creating an approachable solution suited specifically for you and can be especially difficult when managing an active schedule.
1. Set an Intention When You Wake Up
Setting an intention when you wake up can help keep you on track throughout the day and more mindfully handle life’s inevitable upheavals.
An effective daily intention helps you hone in on the values that matter most. It could be as simple as repeating a phrase or sentence from your mantra or writing out what kind of lifestyle you envision for yourself in a few words.
Before setting an intention, take some time to sit quietly with eyes closed and breathe deeply into your belly, following its movement in and out of nostrils. This will help calm your mind and bring forth any ideas for an intention that arise.
2. Breathe Deeply
Breathing deeply has many health advantages, from soothing nerves and relieving stress to improving performance in physical activities such as running. To reap its full benefits, breathing deep should be practiced daily – even for just a few minutes at a time!
There are numerous breathing exercises you can try, including square breathing (inhale for four counts and exhale six) or breath retention (breathe in four times, hold for four counts, then exhale for four).
As you practice breathing techniques, be aware of your emotions and tension, then work to release it through slow, deep breathing. This will not only help relax you but can help enhance focus as well.
3. Engage Your Five Senses
As you go about your daily life, there will likely be plenty of chances to engage your senses and practice mindfulness. From walking your dog or watching TV, to drinking coffee or eating food – all are good opportunities for mindfulness practice.
Use this practice to bring yourself back into balance when feeling anxious or stressed – the five-senses grounding technique involves paying attention to what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch.
Mental health experts Joanna Gomez and Julia Exelbert believe it can be particularly useful for people who have experienced trauma. According to them, mindfulness techniques can help people avoid flashbacks that relive past events and can trigger stress or anxiety.
4. Pay Attention to Your Body
Attuning yourself to your body can be challenging, yet essential, according to Haan. By paying close attention, paying closer attention can help you access emotions and overall energy levels in an effective manner.
Simple mindfulness meditation entails simply sitting or lying down and watching the natural flow of breathing as it comes in and out of your body. If your thoughts wander off course, simply bring them back to focusing on breathing as your focus. If they wander off again, just bring it back in focus with the breath again to continue meditating on that aspect of mindfulness meditation.
Make time to focus on sensations from throughout your entire body by performing a full-body scan meditation, such as starting with your head or feet before slowly and deliberately moving through various parts.
5. Listen to Your Partner or Child
As your partner or child grows, mindful listening can be extremely valuable in creating strong, lasting relationships. By empathizing and connecting, mindfulness listening lays a strong foundation for lasting bonds to form between individuals.
Also, listening can help you be more responsive when something goes awry. For instance, if your child has been struggling to put his or her feet up on the table at dinnertime, take time to understand and listen before jumping to judgment or criticism.
Mindfulness may seem impossible at times, but mindfulness doesn’t aim to stop thoughts or emotions – rather, it aims to open yourself fully up to them when they come. Yes, this takes practice – but you can do it!