It’s safe to say that most of us are nearly always busy. However, practicing simple mindfulness techniques throughout the day can help us improve our overall mental health.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on awareness. When practicing mindfulness, you become more aware of your mental and physical feelings. This awareness is accompanied with a lack of judgment. Mindfulness typically involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other techniques that may reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
Mindfulness can be a great way to supplement therapy as well. While therapy can help you recognize and address negative thought patterns, you can also use mindfulness techniques in between therapy sessions to relax. Mindfulness methods may also be used to identify the thought processes that contribute to poor mental health. BetterHelp has therapists who incorporate mindfulness techniques in their sessions as well.
There are some simple things that you can do in order to start being more mindful throughout the day even if you do not have much extra time. Being mindful starts when you wake up in the morning.
When we wake up, we sometimes just get ready for the day and head out the door or to our home office without even thinking much about what we are doing. However, it may be beneficial to take the time to be mindful.
Try to start each day with a purpose while keeping your motivations for the day’s activity in your thoughts. You can do this in just a few minutes during your morning routine. In fact, you may be able to incorporate it into your shower or other typical morning activities.
Take a few long, deep breaths and focus on the breathing and the rising and falling of your diaphragm. Ask yourself what your purpose is for the day. How can you make it a good day and get the things done that you need to complete?
Think about this purpose occasionally throughout the day and if you find that you are not in the state of mind that you want to be, think back on your purpose and ground yourself for a minute or two using the same breathing techniques you used in the morning.
When we eat lunch, especially on a workday, we often just eat for the fuel and energy that it provides and to relive the feeling of hunger and an empty stomach. However, eating can be pleasurable in addition to providing you with the energy to get to the end of the day.
Being mindful about eating may allow you to appreciate the food and your lunch break more. Try to ground yourself and remove the thoughts of work from your head as soon as you go on break. Close your eyes and take 5 to 10 deep breaths. Focus on your hunger and the physical sensations that come with it. Then, you can eat accordingly.
This practice can help you eat healthy foods and avoid overeating. This can be beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. Then, while you are eating, focus on the taste, texture, and appearance of the food. Eat in a relaxed way without worrying about work. To do this, you may have to set an alarm so that you do not take a longer break than you should.
Exercise is important for both your mental and physical health. You can also incorporate mindfulness into your workouts. Think about the intention of your exercise whether you are taking a walk, lifting weights, taking a swim, or gardening in your yard. Then, think about the different sensations that come with the workout.
Concentrate on your breathing, heart rate, and thought pattern as you warmup and stretch. Then, coordinate your breathing with your movement as you begin to exercise. Get into a good rhythm with your breathing, thinking, and motion.
You can use mindfulness to challenge yourself to workout harder as well. Notice the positive sensations associated with intense exercise and watch the negative systems flow out of your body.
When you are down with your workout, try to focus on the feelings and take in the sensations and surroundings. Close your eyes and think about the feelings in your body starting with your head and slowly moving down all the way to the bottom of your feet.
Driving can be stressful. This is especially true if there is a lot of traffic. Even though it is not safe to close your eyes and go into a completely mindful state while driving, you can still increase your awareness and mindfulness.
Turn off the radio and take deep breaths. More oxygen can help your cognitive abilities and allow you to focus on the driving and traffic. If you are feeling physical or mental stress, ask yourself what you will require to alleviate that stress. Think of things that you can add in the next couple minutes to bring some relief to your stress.
Give yourself what you need. If you need to relax your arms, then do so. If a quiet song will help you, put one on. Do the things that can bring relaxation to your stressful driving time. Then, look at the nearby drivers. Empathize with them to understand that they are just like you and probably also stressed by the driving conditions.
Find a driver who is singing or smiling. Recognize that they are in the same stressful driving situation that you are and that they are still able to be happy. This can help you relax and be happy as well.
As you can see, you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine while you do the things you will do anyway. Take the time in the morning to focus on the purpose for the day and occasionally ground yourself to that purpose throughout the day. Try to incorporate these techniques periodically throughout the day, especially if you feel yourself getting stressed. This may help to alleviate some of the stress and keep it from increasing.