5 Easy Ways to be More Mindful
Wishing 2020 would take a hike? You’re not alone. This year has certainly presented us with a bunch of new challenges. From the coronavirus to social unrest to wildfires to a dramatic presidential race, there are plenty of things we wish would go away and never come back.
With so many struggles to face this year, it can be hard to find things to be thankful for. So much negativity can also make it tough to keep on top of healthy habits like getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. We’ve found the key to combatting all this pessimism—mindfulness.
According to www.mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
In other words, being mindful means paying attention to the “now” of the moment and shutting out the stressful static surrounding your life. Here are five easy ways to become more mindful today:
- Head to the Woods. Breathing fresh air can be enough to clear the proverbial cobwebs from your mind, especially if you wander through the woods. A Japanese study of 60 young women found that a brief walk in a forest helped them feel more relaxed, comfortable, and happy.
According to the researchers, this simple task resulted in massive benefits including, reduced tension and anxiety, increased energy, and lower feelings of depression and hostility. No forest around? Don’t sweat it! Head to your nearest park or tree-lined street.
- Focus on Your Surroundings. Instead of worrying about things that are out of your control (we see you, COVID-19), focus on your immediate surroundings. When taking that walk through the woods, focus on the trees bursting with autumn’s most vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues instead of any stressors.
- Meditate. Clear your mind of worries by meditating. Sit quietly in a comfortable spot (preferably a place where the kids won’t find you). Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and relax your shoulders and arms. Breathe in slowly through your nose, counting to 3, and out for the same count. Even five minutes is long enough to help you feel more positive and refreshed.
- Be fully present. When’s the last time you slowed down and took a break by yourself? Stop the excuses and set aside a few minutes each day to be present in your environment. Become hyper-aware of your feelings (physical and emotional) and senses (what do you see, smell, taste, hear, or feel). If you’re eating ice cream, for instance, home in on each of your senses while you enjoy the treat. Let everything else take a backseat for a while.
- Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to come down on ourselves, especially when we’re stressed. Instead of thinking of all the things we dislike about ourselves, focus on the parts you love. Maybe you’re super funny, a good cook, a loyal friend, or a talented musician?
No matter what your strengths are, celebrate them, and spend more time finding those many other attributes you don’t often recognize. Researchers at Princeton University found the higher your self-confidence, the bigger your motivation to succeed in life.