It can be easy to forget to stop sometimes; when I am up against a deadline at work, when I am trying to juggle my family and my chronic pain when a hundred and one thoughts are racing through my head and my anxiety kicks in.
A more mindful approach by paying more attention to the present moment, acknowledging my own thoughts and feelings and recognising the world around me, improves my mental well being and makes me more positive and productive.
Many people associate income, wealth and a good job with happiness, but in reality, what we do and the way we think is what actually makes us happy. I am no expert, but I do try to adopt a more mindful approach to each day and try to practice at least these techniques daily, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed with my work, my pain or with life itself.
Simple Mindful Breathing
Sitting in a comfortable position, I close my eyes and bring my attention to my breathing. Observing each breath as it happens; either the rise and fall of my chest or the sensation of the breath on the nostrils. If I notice that my mind is wandering and thinking other thoughts, I gently bring my attention back to the breathing. I pick strategic points in the day to practice breathing; usually just before going into a meeting, or before taking a phone call, where I consciously remind myself to be mindful.
Spending Time Outdoors
Taking a short walk outside, on my own, away from my desk, usually around my garden or with the dog in the local park. I try to turn off my phone so I can easily resist the urge to use social media or make phone calls and then I observe the surroundings, immerse myself in the sights and sounds of nature. Just 10 minutes on my own in nature can drastically improve my mindset, particularly as I am looking at a computer all day. I talked about the health benefits of walking in my recent post Walking With Fibromyalgia; there are so many benefits to getting outside.
Picking up a Colouring Book
As I discussed in my post: Art Therapy: Colouring The Pain Away, adult colouring books seem to be everywhere, but they are not just a fad. There is a real benefit to colouring in that can make mindfulness more accessible due to requiring the mind to focus on the present moment. Colouring allows me to move at a slower pace and is a welcome distraction from pain and stress. It is a simple activity that removes me from the computer screen and technology and provides much-needed escapism. Taking 10-15 minutes to carry out a colouring activity is incredibly restful and calming and allows me to think more clearly and make decisions more easily.
Mindfulness is a technique I use to bring me peace and calmness during busy and stressful times. I often take a short walk, often spend some time colouring in and always start my work days with a short breathing exercise. Having a time out to really be in that time and space is essential to my productivity, motivation and determination.
Do you practice mindfulness? What techniques have you adopted into daily life? How has mindfulness practice benefitted you and your health?