Easy Ways To Bring Mindfulness To Your Day

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is about being present in the current moment, without thinking about future worries or things that have happened in the past. Mindfulness is a great tool to draw on while we are dealing with COVID-19 because it can reduce stress and negative thinking.

There are three parts to mindfulness; focusing on one thing at a time, observing and being non-judgmental. Observing non-judgmentally means that if a thought or feeling pops into your head you can observe it without becoming too attached to it and without making judgments about whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s just there.

Mindfulness is different to meditation, but meditation is one great way to flex your mindfulness muscle and train your brain to be in the moment.

There are loads of benefits to practicing mindfulness, with research suggesting it can make us more resistant to getting sick, sleep better and reduce stress. Over time it has even been shown to alter the structure of the brain, increasing activity in areas known for memory and emotion regulation and reducing it in areas known for fear, anxiety and anger.

Easy ways to be more mindful every day:
  • 1. Mindfulness meditation apps
    If you’ve never meditated before, apps with guided meditations are a great place to start. The ‘Smiling Mind’ app has plenty of meditations that are less than 10 minutes. This makes them easy to fit into your busy schedule!

  • 2. Take a mini-mindfulness break
    Anything can be done mindfully, even drinking a coffee! To take a mini-mindfulness break grab a hot drink and for a few minutes try not to think about the past or the future or all the things on your to-do list, just focus on how the drink tastes, how it feels and how much you’re enjoying it.

  • 3. Be a single-tasker
    Increased levels of multitasking have been shown to cause a significant loss in accuracy and increased mental strain. It also prevents us from being totally in the moment, you can do anything but not everything. Instead, try to focus on doing one thing at a time.

  • 4. Deep breathing
    Deep breathing signals to the body that it can turn off the stress response and engage the ‘rest and digest’ response, a great way to focus on the present moment. To do this try to clear your mind of thoughts and focus on breathing in for the count of 4 and out for 6, repeat this 5 times.

  • 5. Counting steps
    If you find focusing on your breath too challenging (it’s easy to get distracted if you’re new to it), another option is to go for a short walk and rhythmically count your steps in your head, this gives your mind something to focus on that is linked to the present moment.

  • 6. Feel your feelings
    An important part of living mindfully is to feel your thoughts and feelings without letting them take over. When we acknowledge our negative thoughts and feelings they lose their power over us. A good way to do this is to journal about how you’re feeling. Remember that your thoughts and feelings are neither good nor bad, they just exist.

  • 7. Practice gratitude
    When we are living mindlessly it is easy to lose sight of the good things. Take a moment to slow down and be grateful for the positive things and people in your life.

  • 8. Take a social media/phone break
    If you want to live more in the moment, a great place to start is by having a break from your phone. It might be as simple as making the conscious choice to put your phone down when you’re walking somewhere, or in a waiting room and just letting your mind wander.
In our fast paced lives it can be easy to be living mindlessly, trying to do everything at once and just getting by. Practicing mindfulness can really help our stress levels and our outlook. How will you try and be more mindful today?
 
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