Education & Career Trends: October 23
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts are taken from an article published on psychcentral.com.
Mindfulness involves being aware of your surroundings as well as what you are feeling inside.
Mindfulness can have mental health benefits, with researchers in a 2021 study reporting that people who practised mindful meditation during lockdown self-reported less pandemic-related stress than those who didn’t.
Practising mindfulness as part of your everyday life can have benefits both for the mind and the body. Incorporating mindfulness into your everyday life doesn’t need to be difficult, and can be as simple as daily mindful breathing exercises
What is Mindfulness?
The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as a sense of awareness of one’s surroundings, as well as one’s internal state of being.
A mindfulness practice can help people acknowledge their thoughts and feelings in a healthy way and enable them to avoid habits or behaviours that might be destructive or unhelpful.
Modern mindfulness practices commonly include a focus on meditation, relaxation, attention, and observing passing thoughts.
When you start to practice mindfulness, you may notice that each moment brings an opportunity for mindful presence.
1. When you wake up
When you wake up in the morning, you can spend a few minutes checking in with yourself. How do you feel? What emotions are there? Do you feel any physical aches or pains? If so, you might take a moment to stretch in a way that feels good.
You could also consider adding a walk to your morning routine, taking time to notice the trees and houses that you see along the way. A morning journaling routine can also help you get acquainted with what’s going on in your head.
2. Regular mindful breathing
To help you stay present throughout the day, it might help to turn toward your breath.
Mindful breathing simply involves focusing your thoughts on the breath coming in and leaving your body. You might focus on the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils, or the rising and falling of your breath in your belly or chest. Whatever feels right for you.
It’s not always easy to focus on the breath, as our minds love to flit between different thoughts. If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to the breath.
If you’d like to make mindful breathing a daily routine, it can help to set a reminder on your phone a few times a day or make a plan to spend some time focusing on your breath every day before making dinner.
You could also try breathing exercises, such as deep breathing and the 4-7-8 method methods, that may help to slow your heart rate and calm your nervous system.
3. Focus on your senses
Another great way to bring mindfulness into your daily life is by making a point of focusing on sensations. You can do this at any time. All it takes is turning your attention toward what’s going on around you.
If you feel discomfort somewhere, it can help to mentally zoom in to where your body is holding that feeling. The shoulders, back, and jaw are common areas that carry tension. Does it feel tight? Sharp? Dull? Then, you might gradually try to let the tension go.
You can also try grounding exercises, like the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, which allows you to connect with the world around you. This involves letting your attention rest on:
1. Five things you see
2. Four things you hear
3. Three things you smell
4. Two things you touch
5. One thing you taste
4. Mindfulness while you wait
Waiting in line at the supermarket, doctor’s office, or traffic light? This could be another opportunity to be mindful.
As you sit and wait, instead of defaulting to looking at your phone, you might take a few deep breaths and focus on what’s around you. What interesting things can you see around you? What smells are in the air? What can you hear?
You might find that even one-minute mindfulness exercises can make a difference to your mind and mood throughout the day.
5. Schedule a daily meditation session
Taking time to sit still for a meditation session is the cornerstone of mindfulness for many folks.
You might devote 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or longer to sit quietly in a comfortable spot and tune in to a mindful state. Many people use guided meditations to help them get into the zone.
There are many types of meditation, including:
- Chanting meditation
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Zen meditation
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)