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Seven Steps to Mindfulness

by Mark Seeto on Friday 4 November 2016

 

Did you know that just being a little more mindful in everyday life can have a positive effect on stress and anxiety? 

Mindfulness can be as simple as focusing more of your attention on the present. If you’re feeling a bit stressed, injured or empty, then now would be a great time to start!

Walk and listen
At some stage this week, plan to go for a walk. It might be early in the morning to start your day, during your lunch break, or in the evening with the dog. Try to go alone (or with your dog who probably doesn't talk back) and ideally somewhere close to nature. Make yourself aware of the sounds around you, and take a moment to observe how it actually feels to be walking.

The commute  
Whether you drive, ride, train or walk, there are moments when we can all get caught up in the actions of others. At least once this week, try to be more mindful of your environment. Practice patience when you’re stuck in traffic. Be mindful of the emotions that rise and fall. Focus instead on your breathing and posture.

 

Something we do everyday
Mindfulness doesn’t always need to be scheduled into your already busy day. You don't need a yoga mat, cushion or candle burning.  You can quite simply practise mindfulness while brushing your teeth or having a shower. Be mindful of the movement and feeling of brushing your teeth, take note of the sensation and smells of a hot shower.

Standing in queue
We all hate standing in queues. Often we become frustrated with the organisation or the people queuing in front of us. In most situations like this, we don't have the power to change anything. We’re simply fostering negative energy that is going to affect our own mind-set without solving the problem.  Instead, choose to be mindful of the thoughts and sensations that arise. Rather than being caught up in the story, chose to observe without attachment. Ask yourself ‘In the grand scheme of things, is waiting in line for a few extra minutes that much of a problem?’

Mundane tasks
Practice being mindful during an everyday chore or task you don't enjoy.  Notice the feelings and emotions you experience when you know the task needs to be done. Take the time to do an even better job of it, and try and let go of whatever is coming up in that moment. Being aware of your state of mind at that time can help you avoid the negative reaction to it.

Eating slowly
Eating slowly and more mindfully can help you enjoy your food more, and make you feel more satisfied with what you have eaten.  Pay attention to the many different aspects of the food: how it tastes, the temperature of the food, and the texture of the food. Focus on the physical sensations of eating: chewing, swallowing, and even digesting.

A break from screens
This might be the hardest of all. Many people spend their whole working day in front of a screen, and a lot of us start and finish our day in front of a screen - texting, social media, iPads, iPhones, laptops & TV. Try to only use screens as a necessity. Avoid endless group chat sessions, browsing social media for no real reason, or turning the TV on out of habit. Try cooking a meal, going for a walk, reading a book, talking to your housemates or family.

Notice how a little mindfulness can shift your headspace leading to greater focus, creativity, and overall peace of mind.


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