Anxiety. Stress. Feeling overwhelmed. Life is messy. Life is fun. Life is hard.
Give it five minutes and your feelings about life will change. That’s the nature of this wonderous adventure.
Stress arises when we dwell on the past or focus on the future, but life is very simple. Go with the flow. Is it really that easy? It is with practice.
You remember when you first learned that “new” thing…a job, Facebook, Twitter, how to play guitar, bake a cake? We are all familiar with the feeling – and challenge – of learning something new. You weren’t great at it, were you? But you stuck with it, you practiced and you got better.
So how do you handle the constant changes that seem to pop up just when you thought life was going so well? It’s interesting to note – according to science we have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day. Even though these thoughts are not all conscious, they still have a major impact.
The thing is – even with that many thoughts – just as little as 12 mindfulness minutes a day can have major benefits including:
- reducing negative self-talk
- increasing compassion
- decreasing anxiety
Mindfulness is being with what is happening RIGHT now and tuning into how you feel about that experience. It’s connecting with the good, the bad, the ugly. Paying attention to the feelings in your body, tuning into your senses without judging yourself. When you focus on your senses you are in the present moment.
Right now you are reading this article, so this is your present moment. How do feel about what you have just read? Name the emotion. Pay attention to your senses and notice what feeling(s) arise in your body. Observe your feelings with no judgment.
That’s it! You’ve done a mindfulness practice. That was simple, right? Repeat doing this throughout the day.
Here a three additional practices to help you be more mindful during your day:
Hands to heart: During the day at any time lay both hands flat in the center of your chest. Take a deep breath and say out loud, “I am safe. I am calm. All is well.” This simple practice done regularly relaxes your body more and helps reduce anxiety.
Three conscious breaths: Stop what you are doing and plant your feet solid on the ground. Think about what you want to do next. The breath you take will be done in threes. Breathe in for three counts, hold for three counts and release for three counts. Take three conscious breaths throughout the day to regain your focus and provide mental clarity.
I am here now: Set your phone or clock to alarm at five minutes before the hour. When the alarm goes off, stand up. Take a deep breath in. Look around the room and notice what you see. Say out loud: “I AM HERE NOW.” Open your arms wide, smile, look up at the sky or ceiling and be grateful.
It helps to remember that life is changing all the time. Life is difficult. Life is exhilarating. When you find yourself overwhelmed, anxious or stress, remember that struggling is a choice. Stop. Place your hands over your heart. Take three conscious breaths. Look up and around, open your arms wide, smile and say, I am here NOW and I am grateful.
Barbara J. Faison believes we are all students and teachers in the school of life, and being open to learning, evolving and growing is a way to stop struggling. Faison educates, inspires, and enlightens with her unique perspective on being and finding purpose wherever you are. She has also been a meditation and mindfulness ambassador for over 20 years, and she is the author of the audio program, “Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day.”
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