When all the stress and anxiety of day-to-day living starts to catch up with us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Stress can become especially difficult during the fall and winter months. Year-end deadlines, holiday activities, and reduced daylight can all contribute to the sense that life is spinning out of control.
Luckily, there’s a great tool for dealing with those pressures and preventing them from building up: practicing mindfulness.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the active practice of being present in the moment. It means clearing your mind of judgment or reactions to the past, present, or future.
Bestselling author Sylvia Boorstein described it as, “the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”
Mindfulness sessions of any length can help reduce stress, lower anxiety, and even help with managing chronic pain. It also helps with regulating emotions and can improve memory and focus. Mindfulness works to support your parasympathetic nervous system (which controls the body’s responses while at rest) and has even been shown to increase energy levels.
But the best part is that it’s easy for anyone to incorporate mindfulness into their daily routine. You don’t need expensive gear, the right outfit, or special sessions to get started.
How to put mindfulness into practice
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you might already be familiar with mindfulness practices. Yoga incorporates many mindfulness exercises such as controlled, focused breathing and emphasizes remaining present and anchored to the current moment.
You can introduce mindfulness into almost any moment of your day. Here are a couple easy mindfulness exercises to start with:
1) Comma exercise
When you’re reading a sentence and you arrive at a comma, your brain understands that it’s time to take a short break. The comma exercise works the same way, reminding you to take a tiny break during your day to clear your mind and be present in the moment.
The best approach is to do the comma exercise right after finishing one activity, before moving on to the next. It can last for a few seconds or a few minutes. Consider doing the comma exercise between meetings or as an interlude after your commute to work.
2) Box breathing exercise
This simple breathing exercise is a great way to clear your mind during a busy day. Begin by breathing in while counting to four. Then, hold your breath for a count of four. Breathe out, again to a count of four.
Complete a few rounds of this exercise and, when you’re ready, return to your day and your next activity with a fresh outlook.
Looking for help?
Want more tips on incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine? At Vera, we hire whole health coaches to support you in your mindfulness journey with helpful strategies and insights geared to your unique lifestyle. Make an appointment today, or better yet, consider bringing your career to Vera.
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