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Connecting back to yourself: Mindfulness

April 12, 2020

During periods of stress and uncertainty, it is essential to refocus your attention on being mindful of your wellbeing. Amid our busy lives, we often find ourselves pushing off those moments to practice mindfulness. Now, during this period of distance from the usual rush of life, we all have the excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness and to develop these healthy attributes to use in the future.

What is mindfulness?

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Mindfulness is the voluntary practice that allows us to be present with ourselves and our environment and having the ability not to become incredibly overwhelmed and reactive to everything going on. Practicing mindfulness means to consciously make decisions throughout the day, to step back, relax, and be fully aware. Being able to put a pause on the rush that life brings us can be so beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing. Becoming in-tune with oneself can induce a very calming sense of relaxation that can allow you to peacefully return to the tasks of your everyday life with a regained sense of focus.

Mindfulness can be practiced through basic breathing exercises, stretching, yoga, walking in nature, etc. In all of these activities, there is one thing in common: balance. We find a balance between our mind and our body; we are creating space to stop, breathe, think, and reflect.

How to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life

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Practice mindfulness right when you wake up. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of the day to relax sets a positive tone for the entire day and helps to stabilize your nervous system. Try mindful breathing techniques and try not to look at your electronic devices. Instead, be fully present in yourself and focus on what needs to be done. When you do this, stress levels in the body decline significantly, and you can be aware and focus on the tasks that need to be completed.

Make the conscious effort to use mindfulness techniques during your breaks from work at hand. When you participate in short moments of mindfulness throughout the day, you are more likely to regain focus for a more extended period throughout the day. For instance, if you are feeling very overwhelmed and stressed with your work, your mind does not function to its full potential.

Set a physical reminder on a device at specific points throughout the day to practice mindfulness. This can be as simple as sitting in a comfortable position on the ground and focusing your attention on slowing down your breathing. This could also be taking a few minutes to participate in an online yoga or fitness class.

Useful apps

By Annika Schoeman