Mindfulness is a helpful practice to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and other distressing emotions that might surface throughout the day. Mindfulness is a state of total awareness in the present moment and is achieved through paying attention to internal and/or external stimuli such as breathing or noises in the environment.
Mindfulness is a technique that is emphasized greatly in the mental health field, although many people do not realize its true effectiveness. Research that aimed to address the effects of mindfulness on psychological health found that mindfulness has numerous positive psychological benefits, such as increased subjective wellbeing, improved behavioral regulation, reduced psychological symptoms, and emotional reactivity.
If you are someone that typically has a busy schedule, there are many ways to incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Busyness can bring about greater feelings of anxiety, which is where mindfulness becomes a great resource to alleviate such feelings. Here we offer a few ways to incorporate mindfulness into a busy day or routine.
One of the easiest practices of mindfulness is controlled breathing. It’s ironic that our breathing is one of the most important physical factors of our well-being, although many of us do not take the opportunity to control it and instead leave it autonomic. With controlled breathing, you are activating your parasympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic nervous system activates the “rest and digest” conditions of your body. On the other hand, your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your “fight or flight” responses that activate the stress response. If you find yourself in a moment of stress or anxiety, you can quiet your “fight or flight” responses in the body by using controlled breathing. In other words, using controlled breathing slows down your heart rate, stimulates digestion, activates your metabolism, and overall helps your body to relax.
Controlled breathing can be as simple as tuning into your breath. Take a long, deep breath and hold your lungs full for a few moments. After a couple of seconds, slowly release the breath and repeat. There are a variety of guided breathing techniques if you are someone that likes to follow along through recordings or live meditations. Controlled breathing is an effective practice of mindfulness that can be done anywhere.
With busy routines, we often try to multitask our daily responsibilities. By doing one thing at a time, especially in times of stress, we can limit making mistakes that lead to more stress. Before you begin your day, make a task list of everything you are looking to complete that day, organizing it from most important to least, or vice versa.
We engage in many conversations throughout our day. When you find yourself having a conversation with your coworker, supervisor, family member, etc., you can activate mindfulness with empathetic listening. Try to relate to whoever you are talking with as if you are talking with yourself. Consider things like their tone of voice, the meaning of the conversation, and even identify what makes this individual special. Each of us has an innate tendency to judge others, as it is a natural human response. Instead of leaning into this judgment, try to identify a few of the many things you could take away and learn from the conversation. As meditation focuses on acceptance and non-judgment, mindful
conversations that apply these factors can also greatly benefit your psychological well-being.
In workday scenarios, getting tasks done involves setting standards as well as finding solutions to issues that may arise. Observational exercises can help you return to the present moment if you find yourself with anxious thoughts or emotions. Similar to active listening, observational exercises require you to look at an object, person, or situation with a pair of fresh eyes. You may find yourself gaining greater respect or appreciation for the thing that you are observing, as you are continuing to practice the important mindfulness principles of acceptance and non-judgment. When you take the opportunity to change the perspective that you have on a person or experience, you may find yourself in a much more positive mindset moving forward.
These exercises are suggestions during a busy workday, although there is always time in any schedule to incorporate practices of mindfulness. Some practices can be done during any time of the day, while others require a little more intention. Regardless of what your day or week may look like, set aside a few minutes every day to move towards a mindset of greater peace and less anxiety. Taking time for your mental health is not selfish, instead, it increases self-awareness so that you are able to effectively move through your life with a positive disposition. That is not to say that negative emotions or beliefs will never happen to you again because those experiences are a necessary part of life; instead, understanding that your mental health is where you draw your perspectives from is what will give you the strength and insight needed to overcome obstacles without being dragged down by painful circumstances. Maintaining your mental health brings balance to your emotionality.
Mindfulness is a useful tool when you are experiencing symptoms of distress, including stress, anxiety, or depression. Many of us pack our schedules and are led to believe that we do not have time to dedicate to practicing mindfulness. Having a busy schedule should motivate you to practice more mindfulness, as you are more susceptible to moments of anxiety and stress. There are many mindfulness techniques that can be applied to everyday actions, such as active listening or intentionally observing your environment. To limit the amount of anxiety you are experiencing during a busy day, make a list of all of the tasks you must complete and then focus on doing one thing at a time. Mindfulness does not have to be intense meditation. Try some of these techniques today to alleviate and reduce stress symptoms. For more support, reach out to SokyaHealth. We are always looking for ways to uplift our community. Call today at 866-932-1767.