If you’re new to meditation, you might not know about mindfulness techniques for stress. You can do them alongside your meditation routine to feel calmer and better connected to the world around you.
It’s hard to engage in a lengthy mindfulness meditation for beginners. However, as you learn to meditate, you can supplement your progress by taking advantage of these moments throughout the day.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to focus on what is happening at a given moment without thinking about previous or future events. You’re aware of everything around you but are not reactive or overwhelmed. It’s a state of peace and focus.
There is a belief that mental illness can only affect certain people and that dealing with mental health is a burden, but that’s far from the truth. It’s just as important as physical health for every person, and being mindful is one way to deal with stressors that lead to poor mental health.
Here are six tips for staying mindful throughout the day.
1. Mindful Waking
Are you in the habit of sleeping in until the last moment, waking up and rushing out the door? There’s a better way. Hurrying through the morning can jumble your mind, preventing you from starting in a calm, focused state. If you have a busy day ahead, take some time to find peace as it begins.
Mindful waking is choosing to spend the first moments of your day in the moment. Take a minute or two to establish how you feel, tune into the environment around you and determine how the present impacts you.
Sit up in bed and take a few deep breaths to centre yourself. Do a body scan, mentally checking for any fatigue or discomfort you should be aware of. Determine your intention for the day, whatever it may be. You may want to be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, or care for your body and mind. It should be a positive idea that you can frame your conversations and actions around throughout the day.
Periodically check in with yourself about whether you’re meeting your intentions. Ask yourself what was successful and what changes you need to make.
2. Mindful Eating
Instead of shoving down meals, take some time to be mindful of the process of fuelling your body. Eating quickly and mindlessly isn’t good for you, regardless of what you’re consuming.
Food is a privilege that too many of us take for granted. Appreciating what you have can help you de-stress, stay in the moment and eat your food in a healthier way.
Focus on the taste and texture of the food as you put it in your mouth. See if you can pick up any subtle spices or herbs you may have yet to notice in the dish.
Treat each bite as its own experience. Instead of looking at the dish as a whole, focus on the ingredients and how they created your meal. Appreciate the plants and animals involved, the people who grew or raised them, and whoever prepared the food — even if it was you.
Taking these moments of mindfulness and gratitude will grant you mental as well as physical satisfaction.
3. Mindful Breathing
You likely already know about mindful breathing if you’ve already begun your meditation journey. You can do this technique throughout the day, not just during meditation.
Mindful breathing is a great technique for times when life gets stressful. Take a moment to pause and breathe. Take a deep breath through your nose for a few seconds and hold it for a few more before slowly releasing it through your mouth.
As you breathe, notice how your body changes. Feel your heart rate slow and your muscles relax, centring you for whatever comes next.
4. Mindful Cleaning
Cleaning is not a daily chore most people look forward to, but it is a good opportunity to practice mindfulness.
Mindfully clean by taking a moment to appreciate what you are cleaning and why. Acknowledge your floors and all they provide for you and your family: a safe place to walk, a play space and the base your home stands on.
Enjoy the sensory feelings of washing the dishes, paying attention to how the water feels on your skin and how the smell of the soap affects you. Appreciate that your dinnerware is clean and ready for the next use.
Repeat this for whatever you have to clean, taking time to appreciate your ability to do the work, what the cleaner does and how the area impacts your life. You might surprise yourself with the amount of appreciation you have for the chore.
5. Mindful Bathing
Whether you see bathing as a task to get done as soon as possible or the opportunity to perform your own concert, taking a moment to be mindful while you bathe can help you feel mentally well instead of just physically clean.
Appreciate the warm water you have and how it makes your skin feel. Acknowledge the cleaning ability of soap and how it can scrub away impurities from the day. Notice how shower water falls onto your skin or how soap combines with water in a bathtub to create a luxurious feel.
Bathing can also be a time to mindfully centre yourself for a relaxing day or evening. Coming out of your bathing experience helps you transition to a new part of your day.
6. Mindful Relaxation
Like mindful waking, mindful relaxation is a way of centring yourself and settling your mind for a new day.
Relaxation before bed can get your body in the right place to get a good amount of sleep, so you can thrive when you wake.
Lay in bed and take a few deep, calming breaths. Become aware of yourself by doing a body scan, starting from your toes and ending with your head. Mentally examine how each area feels and if you need to do anything to feel better before bed.
After you’ve performed your body scan, you can contract and relax one muscle at a time until you feel completely calm. Take a moment to appreciate the feel of the blanket, pillow, sheets and mattress as you drift off.
Taking Advantage of Mindfulness Benefits
Meditation is a great way to develop mindfulness, but you can be mindful in almost any activity throughout the day. Following these tips can eliminate stress and help you focus on achieving your goals.
This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.