Finding a way to improve work-life balance and decrease stress is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s fast-paced world. As we continue to pile more and more onto our plates and into our lives, it is imperative for us to find ways to manage and cope with the day to day stressors we face on a continual basis. One research-based strategy that can greatly help with managing stress in our lives is mindfulness.
Now before you order a mindfulness meditation mat on Amazon and start stressing about how to block off 20 minutes a day to practice mindfully watching your breath each morning before work – exhale slowly and continue reading. Mindfulness meditation practices can be extremely beneficial and a useful tool to practice mindfulness. There are many other opportunities throughout our busy, overscheduled, days to incorporate mindfulness practices. And even without requiring ANY EXTRA TIME.
Building in moments of mindfulness throughout our busy days can be much more feasible, effective, and stress relieving.
What is mindfulness?
Paying attention in a particular way is mindfulness. This can be on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Jon Kabat-Zinn). Mindfulness can be practiced during any activity and at any moment regardless of the length of your “to do” list.
You may be wondering how do you practice being mindful?
- Begin by using your senses to observe and describe the moment you are in. Observe and describe to yourself what the taste and temperature of your cup of coffee or tea are like. Or describe the colors you see in a sunset as you drive home from work.
- You can practice being present with an important loved one for a moment. Pay attention as you kiss your spouse when you leave in the morning. Attend to the sound of your child’s laughter as his/her sibling tells a funny joke. Other possibilities include practicing attending the moment as you listen to a song you like on the radio. Practice it while eating a tasty dessert.
- Remember-mindfulness is a practice and not a final destination. When your thoughts pull you away from the moment of what you are attending to, notice you got pulled away and gently but firmly bring your attention back to the moment. And repeat.