Let’s face it- WE are busy.
We are a generation of extremely busy individuals who appear to take pride in working ourselves to the point of exhaustion and burnout. We complain about how overwhelmed we are but we also avoid activities that allow us to take a step back and enjoy our present moment.
We are also extremely future focused. We want to enjoy our retirement; we try to work hard for a future that is not truly guaranteed for us- primarily because of the amount of stress we put our overall health through. The impact of these stressful moments cumulates to numerous health conditions- adding on more stress, including but not limited to burnout, muscle tension, and cardiovascular diseases.
This is where mindfulness can be extremely helpful. Mindfulness is considered a variation within the meditation family that allows us to focus on the present and allow ourselves to increase our overall awareness of ourselves, surroundings, and even find ways to “think outside the box.”
For those who have not heard of Mindfulness activities or never practiced it, there are few things to keep in mind before you get started:
- It’s Free!!!
Well, financially free. All you need is yourself and time that you have set aside. Start with 1 minute and you can build on that as you become more comfortable with it.
- It can be frustrating.
At first, you will notice that your mind will feel more chaotic than before. It’s okay that your mind will think of anything and everything- the goal really is just to pay attention to what is happening. Just be an observer.
- Come back to the judgment-free zone.
It’s instilled in us- things are either “good” or “bad.” You will most likely judge yourself more than anyone else here but gently remind yourself to focus on the present. There is no need for judgment, there is no need to bully yourself into being anything other than who you are. Focus on your breath- focus on your experience. No need to categorize it good or bad.
And to be honest, those really are the basic steps of mindfulness. I would encourage you to find a place around you with good support for your back and focus on your breathing and guide your wandering mind back to the present.
Because it can be difficult initially, I encourage you to look into using free apps like Headspace, Calm, or Awesome Breathing (to name a few) where they have some guided practices available.
Studies have shown numerous health benefits of practicing mindfulness, including a decrease in stress and anxiety, increase assertiveness and effective communication, and better focus and productivity. I would love to know what your experience has been with mindfulness and some of the difficulties you experienced/overcame when you start(ed). If you find yourself struggling or would like to further discuss stress reduction techniques, Zenergy Counseling is always one call away.