Has this ever happened to you? You’re driving home from work or the grocery store and when you get home, you can’t remember part of the trip …Or you’re in the middle of a great movie on Netflix – and you look down and have no idea how the entire bowl of popcorn is gone …Or you go into the kitchen to get something and you can’t remember what or why?
These might be some signs you need mindfulness in your life.
“Mindfulness” is super trendy right now. It can teach you to get out of your head and into the present, which can have benefits for your health and your results.
- Less stress
- Better memory
- Lower emotional reactivity
- Improved focus
- Flexible thinking
- And even increased immune function!
Basically, it increases your “chill” factor. Being more mindful can help you cut the stress, but so can incorporating some simple daily activities into your routine.
Here are some seven mindfulness practices to try:
1. Eat slowly. Notice your food before you eat it — how it looks, smells, and tastes — and take your time to enjoy it.
2. Avoid multitasking. When you’re doing three things at once it can feel like you’re unstoppable, but the truth is it’s actually not as efficient and it makes it hard for your brain to focus. Give yourself permission to do just one thing at a time, and watch your stress levels reduce almost immediately.
3. Listen. When you’re having a conversation with someone, really listen to what they say (vs. thinking about what you are going to say next). This can help boost your focus, reduce your stress and improve your relationships (another stress-buster).
4. Make it a routine. Pick a certain part of the day – a lunchtime walk, shutting down your computer for the day – to simply focus and be aware of all the sensations created by the environment surrounding you. And do it every day.
5. Mix it up. Do something different to see the world in a new way. Change where you sit for a meeting (at home-maybe you sit outside vs. inside as the weather changes), take a new route when you’re driving, try a new food, read a book instead of listening to it. This can 1) improve your focus and 2) give you a new perspective.
6. Give your thoughts or feelings “names.” When you start thinking or worrying about something — a work evaluation, a presentation, or even the state of the world – say to yourself something like: “This is a thought about my work evaluation.” Naming them can take away some of their power and it also can help you recognize patterns in your thinking/moods (I use this regularly with my new moms when speaking about body image).
FYI, this tactic does not replace relieving those who have anxiety or needing to feel into something for a while and talk it out (I sometimes need to do this, cussing and all). Please do what works for you.
7. Breathe! Take breaks through the day and focus on breathing in and out through your nose deep into your belly. This works with your nervous system to help you feel calm and focused.
Also, there are tons of other ways to improve mindfulness – go outside in nature, create a relaxing evening wind-down routine, journal, etc. Do what works for you and your body – and do it intentionally. The point is to slow down your thoughts and relax. Your body (and brain) will thank you for it.
Thomas Fitness Consulting was launched in 2017 after Laura Thomas decided to fulfill her dream of helping professional women and expecting and new mothers find strength and energy through movement and accountability support. She currently serves the greater Westlake and Broadview Heights areas in-person and also offers virtual coaching. For more information, visit thomasfitnessconsulting.com.