7 simple mindfulness tricks to zap stress and improve your health
Mindfulness: it's a lovely concept, right?
But like everything else we try to do to benefit our brains and bodies, it takes time and effort. I mean, who has a minute to be mindful?
In short, you do.
Mindfulness is actually the one thing you can introduce into any part of your day. It's a surefire way to help alleviate mental stress and anxiety by bringing your emotions into focus so you can experience and deal with them.
Here are six ways to bring a little mindfulness to your everyday routine:
1. Try it on your commute
Whether you drive, walk or take the bus to work or college, there are always a few minutes to fill while you get where you're going. Use these minutes to make a list of things you're grateful for or take a guided meditation (there are countless options to try online).
2. Stop filling every second
In this age of multi-tasking madness, it almost feels naughty to leave some empty space in the schedule. Making some time to do nothing is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Just sit still or stare at a piece of art for ten minutes; the world won't stop turning.
3. Use Jon Kabat-Zinn’s explanation of mindfulness:
"Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally."
4. Do it in the shower
Start your day by standing under the hot running water in the shower and emptying your brain. If this feels difficult, visualise your worries as bubbles, then watch them float away and pop in your mind.
5. Practice mindful eating
Most of us are guilty of speed eating on the go. Sometimes it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Mindful eating is about turning off some of the distractions (TV, radio, phone) and tuning back into yourself. It'll also help you recognise when you feel satisfied rather than over-full.
6. Ask yourself: 'How am I feeling?'
Life gets busy and it's easy to ignore gnawing feelings and emotions as you get on with your day. However, we’re all human and we all need comforting. Just for a minute, tune in to yourself and label the emotion you're feeling (ie. lonely, detached, bored). Once you identify it, ask what it is you could do with; that could be a chat with a friend, a good cry, a hug, or an ice cream.
7. Spend a half-hour colouring
Remember when you were little and you could while away an afternoon colouring? Turns out it can have the same calming affect on your adult brain. There are countless cool adult colouring books widely available in bookshops and online; pick a fun one and stock up on coloured markers!