In this busy world, the mind is constantly being pulled in different directions, scattering our thoughts and emotions. There is no doubt about it – modern day life can be stressful. Mindfulness techniques promise to help us feel calm and centred; however many of us are often very busy during the day. So, here are five simple tips that anyone can use to find some much-needed calm on a daily basis.
1. Engage the five senses
So often in life we are not focussed on what we are actually doing – letting our minds wander into the past or fixating on future plans. Try noticing where you tend to zone out (e.g. doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, driving) and practice bringing more awareness to that activity. By engaging the five senses (touch, taste, hearing, smell and sight) in everyday activities you connect with your body and give yourself a mental break.
2. Belly breathing
Belly breathing is a great tool because it can be used anywhere to help reduce feelings of anxiety. When we are stressed it is common to start breathing in a short, shallow way. To practice belly breathing, place your hands on your stomach, close your eyes and taking a deep breath so that your hands rise and fall. Repeat this two more times. By doing this you are maximising the amount of oxygen that you are taking into your lungs, which will help you to feel calm and relaxed.
3. Stay away from with social media and emails first thing in the morning
When waking up, it may feel natural to reach for your phone to check emails, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Bur these can wait. By delaying using our phones in the morning we have more time for other activities which are healthier and more productive. Give yourself time to connect with your self before connecting to social media.
4. When you treat yourself, relish it
Treats are special because they aren’t everyday occurrences, so make sure that you are actually enjoying them in the moment. Whether you are taking a bath, eating chocolate or simply sitting down after a long day, the experience will be even better if you let yourself enjoy it!
5. Try writing a to-do list by hand
Whether you do this first thing in the morning or last thing at night, writing a to-do list can lessen anxiety because it brings attention to exactly what you have to do throughout the day. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the never-ending stream of tasks that need to be completed. But, when we focus on exactly what we need to do today, we break big goals into smaller pieces and things become more manageable.