3 Simple Ways to Practice Mindfulness
In this day and age, it's nearly impossible to avoid stress. No matter what you do, there are always going to be unexpected bumps in the road. What's important is how you handle these.
As a full time college student, part-time sales associate, I have my fair share of stressors. From project deadlines to POS system crashes, there's always something that's got me stressed. What I've realized is that it's really important to not let these things overwhelm me, and one way that I stay calm and collected is through practicing mindfulness. The key word is practice as in daily. It's something you have to constantly work on if you want to improve, so I've started to incorporate mindfulness into the small, routine parts of my life to create more balance and less stress. Here are a few of my favorite ways to be mindful.
1. Mindful Eating
When I first heard about mindful eating, I was a bit skeptical. As someone who uses their lunch hour for pretty much everything except eating, the idea of sitting down and slowly, purposefully and solely eating seemed very unrealistic. However, after I actually tried it I was hooked. My food tasted ten times as good and my body happily received it. Eating mindfully is focusing on the food you are eating, the touch, taste, smell and sensation that is causes. By eating with gratefullness and appreciation for the food you have, you create a scenario where your body is willing and ready to accept the food, and you're completely focused on the act of recieving food.
2. Clocking Out
Have you ever thought about how many times you check the time? Work, school, meetings, social events all have a start and end time, creating an endless schedule of to-do's. What is we clocked out for a few hours without worrying about the time? With a busy schedule this may sound impossible, but if you start in small increments it is. For example, when I am walking to work in the morning, I wake up, get ready, get breakfast and go to work all without checking the time. I make sure wake up with ample time to get there, and I just see how the day goes. Some days my coffee will be ready in 30 seconds and all the crosswalks will be green, somedays I'll get to work with not a minute to spare, but I do so without the constant pressure of time. By allowing myself to do things on my own internal sense of time I feel more connected with myself and less with a strict schedule.
3. Take a Breath
Not all breaths are created equal. I've noticed that when I am stressed I have a tendency towards shallow breathing, which only stresses out my body more. It make seem like a no brainer, but focusing on the breath can be one of the most powerful tools to mindfulness. Simple taking five seconds out of your day to check in on the quality of your breath can improve your overall mood for the rest of the day. Keep calm and remember to breathe.