To say we’re living in uncertain, anxious times would be an understatement. You might feel on edge often, and that’s understandable considering the state of our society. Across the globe, cases of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even chronic pain have been consistently on the rise.
That’s why now, more than ever, we need mindfulness.
Mindfulness has gained a lot of traction in recent years, but it’s more than just a “buzzword” or quick fix for getting rid of anxiety.
Instead, taking mindfulness seriously and practicing it the right way can actually make changes in the brain, improving conditions and helping you experience a more relaxed and stress-free state.
Maybe you’ve heard of mindfulness, but you aren’t sure how to implement it in your everyday life? Keep the following ideas in mind to immerse yourself in the practice, and you won’t have to wait long to experience the benefits.
One reason stress levels are so high is that everyone is moving at such a fast pace. You might think that’s required to keep up with everything you have to do each day. But, when you’re constantly “on the go,” your mind and body can become overwhelmed.
Try to focus on doing everything 30% slower. That includes working, along with your everyday activities. You might be surprised that you don’t get less done. You might end up being more productive because you’re able to put more focus on the task at hand. Slowing down keeps you from getting distracted or rushing from one thing to the next.
Rushing also causes the brain to release cortisol—a stress hormone, as well as adrenaline. Those hormones can make you feel nervous and anxious, making it nearly impossible to focus, and very easy to feel like you’re being buried.
By slowing down, daily activities can be approached with ease. You’ll be more present while you’re doing everything, and even the tasks that caused stress before can become more enjoyable.
Choose One Activity
In an effort to slow down, choose one activity and do it mindfully before moving on to the next. That could be something as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning. Notice everything about the action while you’re doing it. How does it feel, what sounds do you hear, what are you gaining from it in that moment?
Try to practice this “one activity” method throughout the day. It will improve your focus, but it can also help you let go of stress when too many things make you feel overwhelmed.
Come Back to the Present
For many, thinking about regrets of the past or worries of the future is a great source of anxiety. Mindfulness can help you combat that by keeping you in the present.
When you recognize your thoughts wandering to the past or future, mindfulness can help you be more aware of where you are now. Even if you’re doing something as simple as eating lunch and your thoughts start to shift, think about each bite of food. How does it taste? How does it sound when you bite into it? What do you hear around you? What do you feel?
This activity can bring you back to the present quickly. Negative thoughts may still come, but you don’t have to hold on to them.
Take Breaks for Mindful Breathing
One of the best things about mindfulness is that it can be done almost anywhere at any time. But you don’t have to wait until you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Take breaks for mindful, purposeful breathing throughout the day. Even if that means scheduling your breaks ahead of time, it should be a priority. Just a few minutes of mindful breathing each day can help to reduce your stress and improve your focus.
There’s a reason mindfulness has become such a popular practice. By making it a part of your daily life, you can find some relaxation and peace during these unprecedented times.