Are you in need of a “mindful” break?
What is being mindful?
Mindful means to be fully present without judging yourself or your surrounding environment. When we go deeper and listen for a minute to our feelings and thoughts, we may find that we chronically complain or worry about something that didn’t go our way or “may happen if…” How do you quiet the mind and let go of the emotional upsets that occur throughout the day? The chronic stress many of us are under seems to keep the happier moments of life at bay. How do we get our mental and emotional space back so we can fill it with what makes us happy?
A practice of mindfulness throughout the day can help you with:
- Boosting your concentration
- Increasing energy levels
- Lowering stress
- Reducing brain chatter
- Releasing self-limiting thoughts
Practicing mindfulness takes us off autopilot. It allows us to stop at any moment to reflect on what we're thinking and see how that makes us feel. If we are aware of our thoughts in a moment, we can decide to do something different or change our thoughts to something better for yourself and those around us. This is the key to how it works so powerfully. Mindfulness lays the foundation for choosing better thoughts and feeling more at peace in the moment.
Who should practice mindfulness?
Your greatest cues that signal you're in need of a "mindful break" are those moments of anxiety, depression, frustration or anger.
Lao Tzu said it best: "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present."
Basically, anyone who wants to experience peace and ease throughout their day should consider adding mindful practices in their daily routine.
Try these three mindful exercises today
Focus on nature
When you are feeling stress and need to still your mind, this is a good exercise to find your center again. If you are by a window or outside, focus your attention on the natural environment. Visually set your attention on a plant, cloud or bird. Explore the outline of the object. Take in as much detail as possible; immersing yourself in its presence. Being focused and present for those few minutes will reset your mind and release tension. When you are ready to release your focus, bring your consciousness back slowly to your space.
Journal moments of appreciation
Complaining is too easy. That's why we can all fall into negativity traps in seconds and miss the finer things in life that are right in front of us. Open up to new moments of happiness by scheduling at least two or three appreciation breaks in your day. You won't forget if you simply set alarms on your phone labeled "Appreciate!" You can do this in the morning to start off in a positive mindset. Also, journaling your appreciation at night gives your subconscious a reset from the day and helps you start off the next day in a more positive mindset.
Take at least one minute to write or type in a little journal a short note about what you appreciate right now. In every moment, we depend on so many things. Notice them. Appreciate that your phone is working, you have toilet paper, the trees outside your window, or any thought that pops in your mind. Even if you are in a place where you feel stuck, you won't be there forever; so think of what you can appreciate now because this moment will be gone forever! Troubles melt away in seconds when you choose to be present – and appreciate!
Reinvent your breathing
When we grow up, we forget how to really breathe. We don't even think about it, so most of the time, our breaths can get shallow, quick and mechanical as we feel more stressed. To help in letting it all go, practice this when you come home from work:
Lie down on the couch or a soft rug. Let your hands rest on your stomach next to your belly button. Inhale, then exhale and imagine your body sinking down a little into the soft surface. Repeat for three breaths. Now as you inhale, allow your stomach to rise up, pushing up your hands. When you exhale, let your stomach fall down. Your hands will make you aware of your stomach rising up with each inhalation and coming down with each exhalation. Repeat this technique for 10 breaths.
When you start really liking it and want more, than add this additional step after the first two steps. Count the length of your breaths. Count the seconds in your head for each inhalation and exhalation. Don't force them to be any length. Just try to gradually inhale and exhale for the same amount of time. Eventually, you'll be able to take longer, deeper breaths and release all the tension from your day.
A Portal for Happy Moments
Everyone gets distracted so don’t be discouraged if getting into the present moment is elusive at first. Sometimes it happens for a second and then it’s gone. Most of the time its longer but feels like a second. Being mindful can be a portal for happy moments, and with practice, a new way of life.
About the Author: Suzanne Leopold started Living Mavens in 2016 to share some of the products and techniques that help her focus inward and transform her life. With over 15 years of exploring energy and manifesting modalities, she is passionate about creating a life she loves and sharing her discoveries with others. To learn more on how to consciously create a life you love, go to www.livingmavens.com