Mindfulness Made Easy
Mindfulness and self-awareness are hot topics in pop psychology right now.
By now, most of us are familiar with social media’s tedious, aesthetically pleasing, and often time-consuming, self-care routines.
However, real mindfulness goes beyond performative, self-indulgent practices. In fact, mindfulness can be activated through simple moments that take less than a minute and provide lasting results.
While a luxurious bubble bath, morning yoga, and a perfectly curated morning/bed time routine are still great avenues for embracing mindfulness and self-care, results aren’t determined by what we do but the intent and consistency behind it.
Here are some simple tweaks that you can make to your daily living that can vastly improve your relationship with yourself and the world around you:
Get a full night’s sleep:
A proper 7.5 to 8 hours is essential to every physical and mental process in the body. Sleeping is not only the best way to control random impulses (i..e, feening for sugar/processed food, moodiness, brain fog), but it significantly impacts how long you live and quality of life. If you’re not sleeping, you’re likely not thriving, so prioritize that extra 30 minutes.
Slow rise in the morning:
Are you hopping straight from bed into your 8AM work meeting or scrambling to get ready? If so, it’s likely activating the fight, flight, or freeze center of your nervous system (i.e., anxiety) which is not the most ideal way to start the day. Try creating a buffer between when your alarm goes off and when you actually have to be up. Spend some time staring at the ceiling, your favorite objects in the room, expressing gratitude and assessing how your mind/body feels after sleep. At all costs, avoid scrolling, checking emails, and transitioning straight into work first thing in the morning.
When was the last time rushing to something made you feel better? Exactly. Even if it spared you a few minutes or you arrived on time, you likely did so in a frazzled whirlwind. If you find yourself in a crunch, instead of trying to do everything in a time-lapse, take 30 seconds to prioritize what you absolutely must do before leaving and what can wait (this can also include actual consequences v. perceived fears of being late). Ironically, slowing down can save you several minutes of irritation and scrambling along with improving your mindfulness of what’s important right now.
Breathe like you mean it:
Did you know that shallow breathing can trigger symptoms of anxiety without any other cause? When we fail to engage proper breathing patterns (i.e., deep breaths in and out of our nose) it creates tension in our body and limits air flow to the lungs/brain. All factors that make clear thinking and being present that much more difficult. So don’t let a guided meditation be the only time you're taking full, deep, breaths.
These are just a few of many simple applications to improving your mindfulness and self-awareness. Try them out, make them your own, and remember that being present doesn't have to entail doing the most!