With holiday season kicking off it’s easy to start to feel stressed.
Stress about finances, stress about time crunches and bad weather, shopping for the perfect gifts and somehow finding time to make it to 1,849,998 dinner parties, half of which you have to bring a dish to pass.
Pumpkins, turkeys and Santa, oh my!
Stop right there. Let’s work together and be 10 steps ahead of the stress!
Mindfulness. What’s that?
In a nut shell, it’s about being present in the moment. Not thinking ahead about all of the things to stress about, and not thinking behind you (past) of things that have stressed you out. Living in the current moment—enjoying it.
A is for awareness: Becoming more aware of what you are thinking and doing…whats going on in your mind and body.
B is for “just Being” with your experience: Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.
C is for seeing things and responding more wisely: By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to it, we can make wiser choices.
Being mindful can help us recognize, slow down or stop automatic and habitual reactions, respond more effectively to complex or difficult situations and see our actions more clearly! We can also become more creative, patient and joyful. We will surely learn to achieve a better balance between all of the things we are juggling.
But how? The easiest way is to start incorporating it into our every day lives. (And become happier in the mean time!)
1. Using our senses. For example, when we are holding a baby, we close our eyes—smell them. Listen to the sound of their voice. Touch them, notice how small and soft their hands are. We can begin to discover the things we may be missing by being so busy and overwhelmed.
2. Talk it out. Before making a decision, talk to yourself about it. Is this really the best way to do this? If I do something this way, will it cause me more stress later on? Is there something I can do to help myself feel more joy right now?
3. Try to take a break before your day starts. When we wake up, we don’t have to immediately grab our phones to check messages. This just floods us with more information than we can even process is those first few minutes of waking up, and sets the stage for feeling rushed and overloaded throughout the day. Instead, we can just lay there and feel how soft and warm our bed is. Notice what’s around you. Make a goal to do one thing that will make you feel happy.
4. Practice mindfulness while waiting. In our fast paced lives mixed with our access to instant gratification, waiting is a huge source of frustration. This is the perfect time to practice mindfulness. We can slow down by simply paying attention to our breathing, how fast or slow, how deep or shallow. When our mind wanders we can gently bring it back to our breathing.
5. Be conscious of your posture. Sometimes sitting up straight and having open body language is a great first step to changing the tempo of the day! By un-clenching our hands and relaxing our shoulders we can then open our bodies up to the well of positive energy all around us!
Give it a try! This is also a great skill to teach children, as well. Being mindful helps create a happier, more peaceful and fulfilling life!
Author: Robin Slawnyk
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s Own