Mindfulness At Home
Published: June 6, 2021
Have you been feeling anxious or overwhelmed? Do you have an inability to focus? Is your mind full of chatter? It can happen to all of us. Practicing mindfulness can be for you!
Importance of mindfulness
Being mindful is not about shutting off your mind and thoughts; it is about finding awareness in the present moment. It is important because being aware of our thoughts helps to regulate our emotions (internally and externally). Being mindful helps to focus our attention, enhance our emotional intelligence and decrease stress and anxiety.
Negative thinking patterns and overwhelming constant thoughts can be draining and increase stress on our minds and bodies. Being mindful can help improve memory and helps you live in the moment.
Not only does being mindful ease your state of mind, lower stress, anxiety, and depression, but there are also many positive physiological benefits. Such as lower blood pressure, improved sleep, improved attention and focus, improved immune responses, and decrease cognitive decline from stress.
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine
- Writing things down – When feeling anxious or stressed, write down whatever comes to mind at that time. By writing something on paper, you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and are more easily able to move on. This trick is handy for those who have a racing mind that keeps them up at night. Once you write down your thoughts – something we like to call a “brain dump” – you can more easily focus on the task at hand. One task at a time.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and the world around you – Take time to notice your environment and recognize each of your senses. Pay attention to when you feel good (your positive thoughts) and your environment. Pay attention to when you feel bad (your negative thoughts) and your environment. Most importantly, pay attention to what your body is telling you in these moments. Are you stressed? Is that causing you to hold tension in your jaw, forehead, and ears? Notice where you are clenching and release those areas to release the stress in your body.
- Breathe awareness – When you come back to your breath and focus on it, you naturally lower your heart rate. Apple users out there have the “breathe” function on their Apple Watch. If you’re not an Apple user, here is the simple exercise you can do anytime/anywhere – inhale for a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 5. Let’s do it together right now… Inhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Repeat this seven times, and you will feel your heart rate decrease. That’s all it takes. 70 seconds.
- Living in the moment – Find joy in simple pleasures/daily activities. On your next walk outside, simply enjoy the sounds of your surrounding without your devices on hand. Next time you do the dishes or brush your teeth, notice the warm water on your hands. Find appreciation and gratitude for all that you have and all that you have worked hard to achieve.
When practicing these exercises, accept (without judgment) both your positive and negative thoughts and always be kind to yourself.
Written by Devon Smout and Bethanney McCormick at The Collective