Ways to Practice Mindfulness for Less Stress, More Joy
In our last post we outlined 5 habits to help you breathe easier and be more productive. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to think about those, and even try out a few. Feeling those deeper breaths? Becoming a bit more productive? Great! Now let’s take it a step farther.
Get Off The Sinking Ship of Overwhelm, Part 2
We hear one refrain more than any other: some version of, “I’m so busy, my head is spinning.” In our intro to this series, we noted how about a quarter of Americans say that their stress levels have increased in the past year, and yet very few have found a strategy to deal with that.
This is where mindfulness comes into play. By its simplest definition, mindfulness is the act of slowing down and noticing. That’s it.
So what’s required for you to practice and benefit from mindfulness? A willingness to step off of the treadmill that is your life. You. Need. To. Stop.
Once you finally make the decision to stop, the next step is to cultivate a full awareness of the present moment, and to hold this awareness without judgement (i.e. – noticing thoughts, feelings, sensations in your body without questioning or challenging them). Then, with an exhale, release some of the tension coursing through your body.
In other words, restore your sanity. Here’s a helpful acronym, using the word SANE, to help you remember the simple steps to mindfulness:
Notice without judgement
So what are some practices you can try that embody mindfulness that will help you restore your sanity? We’ll offer you one to try in each of our next three posts. Let’s put the most obvious one on the table first: meditation.
I think when many of us hear mindfulness, our thoughts immediately go to mindfulness meditation. This is a wonderful way to guide your thoughts to one place and be fully present. I’ve personally found that having a guide is a much more palatable way to wade into the meditation pool, so I have used and recommend few resources regularly:
If you prefer to do things in the privacy of your own space, download a meditation app. I regularly recommend two: Simply Being ($1.99 on iTunes), and Headspace ($12.99 on iTunes).* If you prefer to do things in a community/group setting, go to a guided meditation class. Start by checking local yoga studios for their offerings, but you might be surprised by the many different groups that meet at a variety of places. In urban areas, you might have more to choose from, but even at my cabin in the woods, there are a few local offerings.
*These are NOT paid advertisers. This recommendation is based on personal experience, and the experiences of clients and friends. There are a TON of apps out there, which is why I suggest two to get you started. If you find a different one you love, I’d love to hear about it.