If you’ve been looking at ways to manage stress, you have probably come across the concept of mindfulness. In its simplest definition, mindfulness is about being aware of, and present to, your surroundings, moment by moment (or as frequently as possible).
The ultimate goal of mindfulness is to be present to your life, right now. When you are able to do this regularly, you can avoid shifting mentally back and forth from the past to the future. This can lead to a greater sense of well-being and peace.
There is a whole branch of meditation focused on mindfulness; but for most of us, it’s not practical for us to sit daily in meditation, even though we know this is something that would be good for us.
So how can you be more mindful, more easily?
Here are three ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life:
1) Set a daily reminder to breathe.
If you use a fitness tracker or you have a reminder on your phone, set it to ring once per day, and when it does, take 5 minutes and just breathe. Focus on breathing from your diaphragm. You know you are doing this because your stomach will expand on each breath. If it helps, you can put your hand on your lower abdomen, and feel it expanding and contracting. 5 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing a day can reduce your stress and increase focus and clarity.
2) Take 15 minutes to do nothing.
In our fast-paced world, we don’t usually make time to do nothing. Yet, even just 15 minutes of doing nothing each day can make us feel better. If you take a bus or train to work, rather than using that time to read the paper or catch up on emails, what if you just sat quietly and looked out the window? Or, alternatively, what if you took 15 minutes from your lunch hour to close your office door, put your feet up and just relaxed? This simple change can make a huge difference.
3) Taste your first three bites.
When eating a meal or a snack, consciously decide that you will focus on tasting your first three bites. Notice the temperature of your food. Notice the texture. Chew slowly and experience the flavor. This is a good strategy to encourage your children to adopt, too. Eating mindfully can result in better digestion, greater satisfaction, and you might even eat less, too.
These are three easy ways to add more mindfulness to your day. Start by incorporating at least one into your routine this week. Stick with it, and you’ll feel the difference.
If you feel you could benefit from additional strategies to manage stress and lower your anxiety, we can help! Give us a call at (716) 926-6009 or click here to schedule an appointment.