Having bad days and experiencing stress is commonplace when trying to balance all the things – work, family, social life, activities, wellness, you name it. While the days may never seem long enough, we can find ways to re-center ourselves by practicing mindfulness.
Often associated with meditation, mindfulness is the practice of being fully immersed in the moment. It involves an awareness of your surroundings and embracing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Simply put, it means turning off the “autopilot” that we’ve all become accustomed to in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Here are some ways to help reduce stress and bring yourself back to baseline when you start to feel those cortisol levels rising.
The quickest way to take a step back and slow down is to incorporate breathwork. Take some deep breaths in and out, counting to four while you inhale, and again while you exhale. This technique is known as box breathing and is so effective to reduce stress that it’s used by the Navy Seals to calm their nerves on missions.
While you don’t need to be a Navy Seal to take advantage of box breathing, this technique can come in handy at work, while waiting in long lines, or anytime you feel yourself becoming off-balance.
Go for a Walk
Another way to help re-center yourself during a stressful time is by simply taking a walk. Whether you have just ten minutes to do a lap around the building or an hour for a leisurely stroll through the park, a walk can help boost your mood and clear your mind.
Try to be present in the moment, focusing on the sights and sounds of nature rather than what’s waiting for you back at your desk. This form of active mindfulness can do wonders for both your mental and physical health.
Find Your Community
Practicing mindfulness has so many benefits for your health but some people have a hard time staying focused on their own. A guided meditation class or yoga session can put you in touch with a community of like-minded individuals to help you on your journey.
If an in-person class is not an option, try an online class or follow along with your favorite yoga teacher on YouTube.
Adopt Mindful Eating and Drinking Habits
It’s easy to come home at the end of a stressful day and crack open a bottle of wine or bag of chips to decompress. While there’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine and/or a snack, it’s so easy to mindlessly over consume while we watch television or scroll through our phones
Eat and drink slowly, savoring the aromas, flavors, and textures. Try to remain undistracted and focus on what’s on your plate or in your glass. Be fully present in the moment. This will help you feel more satisfied and encourage healthier eating habits in the long run.
Whether it’s self-acceptance, an acceptance of grief or hardship, or accepting another person’s faults, acceptance can be hard. But, holding on to critical self-talk or negative emotions about something that cannot be changed only leads to more bad days.
Try practicing acceptance by acknowledging what you can and cannot change and focusing your efforts on the things you have control of. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that’s talking with a trusted friend or enlisting the help of a therapist.
Try to incorporate some of these mindfulness techniques into your daily life, whether that’s a quick box breathing session in between meetings, a lunchtime walk, or a nightly yoga class. A little bit of mindfulness will go a long way in creating better days!
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