How often do you find yourself rushing out the door to get to work while feeling like you’ve had enough time to breathe? It’s hard to start your day like this, and it can have negative impacts on the rest of your day too. It can also impact how you interact with people and situations during your day. Things you say or do may come across in a way you didn’t intend for them to. There are many different things that can cause stress in today’s world. This fact can make it seem almost impossible to get through your day without something coming up that causes you to worry, or experience anxiety. But you don’t have to get stuck having bad, stressful days constantly. Taking a little time to pause and practice mindfulness throughout the day could be what you need to make your days better and more enjoyable, despite the hurdles you encounter.
What is Mindfulness?
Before we talk about how to practice mindfulness meditation to make your days better, we will define what mindfulness is. Understanding how to practice mindfulness meditation is important, but so is knowing the “why” behind it. This is because it will help you practice mindfulness more effectively. It will also help you achieve the results you want.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation. To be mindful, you focus on being present in the current moment, very aware of everything you’re sensing and feeling. You do this without interpretation, only feeling. This often involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and many other practices. All the practices aim to relax the mind and body. This will reduce stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and other things people want to reduce in their lives.
Practicing mindful exercise can help momentarily direct your attention away from things like planning, problem-solving, and daydreaming. Mindful exercises can also help you not spend too much time in your head. They will help you become more engaged and aware of the world around you.
Now that you know what mindfulness meditation is, we will discuss how you can practice it.
5 Tips for Integrating Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life:
1.) Wake up with mindfulness on your mind: There’s no better time to practice mindfulness than in the mornings. This is because it can have the biggest effect on how the rest of your day goes. Start your day off by setting an intention.
- First, get in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and sit or lay down in a relaxed posture.
- Take three long, deep breaths to center yourself at the moment. Then you ask yourself, “What is my intention for today?”.
- Choose an intention and check in with yourself throughout the day to revisit it.
2.) Mindful consumption: What you eat can have a big impact on how you feel. Eating mindfully can make eating much more enjoyable and satisfying. This is how you practice mindfulness meditation while eating:
- Pause and breathe before meals so you can listen to your body and assess how hungry you actually are.
- Only eat according to hunger and eat slowly and relaxed.
- If you don’t love what you’re eating, don’t eat it!
3.) Take a moment to pause: Did you know that we operate on autopilot most of the time? This is because the brain is so busy accounting for our millions of sensory inputs every second. So, not much attention is paid to behavior. Mindfulness aims to reverse this process. Mindfulness will help you make more intentional actions and better decisions. Shifting this balance from autopilot to more intentional behaviors will take some time and effort on your part.
- If you want to do an activity like yoga, put your mat in the middle of the room so you can’t avoid it and fall back into old behavior patterns.
- Refresh your triggers regularly to ensure they stick with you longer.
- Consider doing a series of “if this, then that” affirmations in your head to keep you from falling in these old patterns throughout the day. For example: “if the phone rings at work, take a deep breath before answering.”
- These intentional actions help your brain get off autopilot.
4.) Work out your mind and your muscles: All forms of exercise can be a mindful practice if you move and breathe in the right way. The “right way” means getting your blood pumping so you feel strong and capable instead of busy and distracted. Here’s how you make your workout a mindful one:
- Set your aim before beginning.
- Warm-up with simple moves and stretches. This should take you five minutes.
- Settle into a rhythm. This should last 10 to 15 minutes.
- Challenge yourself, whether it be a faster speed, more repetitions, or heavier weights. This should also last 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cool down by steadily slowing your pace. This should last five minutes.
- Rest for five minutes while acknowledging the feelings and sensations flowing through your body.
5.) Drive mindfully: You’re probably wondering how to practice mindfulness meditation in a situation like bumper-to-bumper traffic considering how stressed and impatient it can make you. Here’s how:
- Take a deep breath.
- Ask yourself what you need. Understanding this will bring balance and center you in the moment.
- Give yourself what you need if you can.
- Look around and realize all the other drivers are probably feeling as impatient and stressed as you were.
- Take another deep breath.
Need help practicing mindfulness? Or maybe you need to know how to practice mindfulness meditation in ways more specific to your life. Regardless, talking to a mental health professional can help. Reach out to Bayless Integrated Healthcare to schedule an appointment with us today.