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Stress is a complex subject. But one thing’s for sure; most of us are living with more of it than ever before. Now, whether the reason for that is a faster pace of life, more technology, social comparison or a sense of increased responsibility I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s a different mix for each of us. But, I do know that a lot of stress comes from spending too much time ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. And, I think that most of us can learn to change that and reduce our daily stress by learning to live more mindfully - in the present - every day...
Not only does living more mindfully lower our stress levels but it’s also shown to…
Reduced stress, health benefits and more focus. I think that most of us would say yes to those. But, if you’re new to the idea of using mindfulness to reduce daily stress and are wondering where to start and how it fits into your day, then here are a few tips that I’ve found useful along the way…
FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH
Becoming more conscious of our breath gives us an anchor, even in the most stressful moments. And, because it’s always there we can harness it to help us feel more present in our day. Try it now, take a deep breath and fill up your belly and lungs – hold it for a second or two and then let it go. Doesn’t it feel good? Do it a couple more times and then focus on your breath naturally moving in and out for another few moments. It’s simple but it helps to create a sense of calm, reduce anxiety and helps to create a mindful moment in your day.
REDUCE TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media can be fun but it can also trigger negative emotions; comparison, anxiety and vulnerability to name a few. Over the next few days think about how you feel after you’ve spent time on your favourite social platform, - does it leave you feeling uplifted or anxious? Either way, when it comes to living more mindfully, it’s certainly a distraction that draws us away from the present moment. Think about how you can cut back a little? If checking your phone has become a habit, then I find out of sight is out of mind - put it in the drawer. Check in only at designated times or set a timer so that you don’t lose precious minutes that you could be spending on yourself.
DON’T DWELL ON THE PAST
So, perhaps your morning started with an argument, you didn’t like your co-workers tone when you arrived at work or you forgot something for school and feel like the worst mum ever. Stop yourself from dissecting the moment and reliving it over and over again. It’s done, in the past and can’t really be changed. Learn something from it if you can and maybe even use it as motivation to make a positive change but then move on.
Do you regularly eat lunch while scrolling through your phone? Before you know it your plate is empty and you haven’t really acknowledged what you’ve eaten. This can lead to eating more food to satisfy your hunger. For the next week, try putting down your phone - or any other distractions - and eat mindfully. Slowing down to enjoy the taste and texture of your food is also said to help healthy digestion and encourage weight loss.
There was a time when the thought of pausing or slowing down would have been a source of anxiety for me; I believed that kind of thing was for other people - little did I know back then! And, from the messages that you send me, I know that a lot of you still find it a challenge to pause. Well, you’re in the right place because my blog is full of tips and support. But, if I could only give you one piece of advice it would be to look for the natural pauses in your day. There are more of them than you think; queuing for coffee, waiting for the kids to finish school or even visiting the bathroom! They’re all opportunities to check in with ourselves, see how we’re feeling and course correct if our day has got a little off track.
You can create a structured ritual for this during your daily meditation, prayer or journaling or simply find a moment here and there to send gratitude for all that you are blessed with. It’s so very simple to cultivate more gratitude. Stop for a moment at any point during your day and think of at least three things that you’re grateful for. Everything from having fresh water to drink and a comfortable home, to your family, work that you enjoy or the support of a loving friend during a difficult time.
You’ll be amazed at what a difference this can make to your life, especially at times of change. Here on a few more tips on creating a gratitude mindset.
There’s nothing holding you back from using mindfulness to reduce your daily stress, it can be enjoyed in the natural pauses in your day, you don't need anything special to get started; there are no classes or expensive equipment needed - it's absolutely free! Start today and I’m sure that you’ll feel the benefits in no time.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.