Restoring Balance With 4 Simple Mindfulness Practices
Daily mindfulness can help us stay in the present moment, relieve feelings of stress and anxiety and improve our overall holistic health. Here we outline 4 ways to practise mindfulness every day.
In a world where there is more uncertainty, we now more than ever need to look for ways that we can regulate our emotions and reduce our stress response. We wake up most mornings not really knowing what is happening in the world and feel emotions such as anxiety, stress about our careers, finances or with worry about relationships that mean the most to us. By incorporating daily mindfulness it can help us stay in the present moment, relieve feelings of stress and anxiety and it can improve our overall holistic health.
Pausing to practice mindfulness for just a few minutes at different times during the day can help improve your days and ensure they are more in line with how you’d like them to be.
Here are 4 simple ways to practice mindfulness every day that will help balance your emotions;
1. Wake Up Mindfully
Mornings can be a difficult time for the best of us, but as more of us are working from home, with varying schedules and plans seemingly flying out the window, it’s important that we start our day in the best way possible.
Try to set an alarm each night to wake up at the same time every morning. When the alarm goes off, lay in bed for a few moments, consciously noticing and feeling your breath. Bring awareness to your breath and notice the position in which you have been sleeping. Are you scrunched up in a ball or lying flat on your back? Start to wiggle your toes and your fingers, before taking a full body stretch. Notice how your duvet feels wrapped around you and the pillow beneath your head. How does your body feel when you take that stretch? Are your breaths deep or shallow? It’s tempting to reach for your phone and start scrolling or logging into your emails but it’s important you start your day with awareness of your own body and not let the demands and lives of others take first priority.
Funnily enough, you wake with the most motivation and willpower that you will have all day. This is why being intentional first thing is so important.
2. Activate Your Mind and Your Muscles
Whatever form of movement works for you in the morning, what one thing do they all have in common? Each is an opportunity for a mindfulness practice. Whatever the physical activity, you can move and breathe in a way that not only gets your blood pumping and endorphins flowing, but can also shift you from feeling stressed and distracted to feeling strong and capable.
It’s time to bring a sense of purpose to your activity by consciously envisioning how you want your session to unfold and take time to warm up matching the rhythm of your breath to your movement. By moving in sync with your breath, your brain activity, heart rate, and nervous system begin to align. Be aware of your breath throughout your workout, continue to coordinate your breath with your movement, and if your aim is to push yourself, remember how strong and capable you feel when you step outside of your comfort zone. Then at the end of your session pay attention to how your body feels from head to toe - chances are you are going to feel more alive than you did 30 minutes ago.
3. Eat more mindfully
I think it’s safe to say we have all eaten a plate of food without really noticing what we are eating! If you’re anything like me, you absolutely love eating and by choosing to eat more mindfully this will only enhance the experience.
I invite you to first listen to your body by bringing your awareness to the physical sensations of your hunger. Ask yourself how hungry are you? Try not to think about what you had as your last meal or when that was. Breathe and get in tune with your body’s needs. This way you can start to eat according to your hunger. Then take a few deep breaths before you eat. By pausing before consuming your food, you allow your body and mind to be more calm. Notice the food in front of you, the colours, textures, smells. Take a bite, notice the heat, the texture and all the different flavours; chew slowly. Enjoy every bite you take!
4. Take a moment to pause
There will be days where you forget to be intentional in the morning and there will be times that you're so caught up in the busyness of your day that you will feel like it’s a struggle to be present. When you’re pressed for time, this is the first thing to go out the window. It's important to take a step back when life feels like this and be sure to take a moment to check in with yourself.
Are you breathing deeply or are your breaths shallow? Are you holding tension in your jaw, neck or shoulders? Give yourself 20 seconds to breathe deeply into the belly, relax your face, neck and shoulders. Always bring the awareness inwards, and ask how are you feeling in this exact moment? It’s like pressing a small reset button to bring back the focus and calm allowing you to feel more aligned to then be able to tackle what else comes your way that day.
These 4 simple mindfulness practices are easy to implement and take nearly no time at all. What do you feel you can implement into your routine this week? Your mind, body and soul will soon thank you.