10 Mindfulness Hacks to Reduce Stress and Anxiety and Increase Calm
Do you find that you go through most of your day feeling under pressure, stressed and anxious? You have so much to do and so much to worry about that you never really fully experience the present moment as your mind is distracted by so many thoughts. Maybe you arrive at your destination but can't remember the trip there or you are having a conversion with a friend and realise you don't know what they just said to you. All this is a sign that you are not being mindful - paying attention to the actual experience of your life in the moment and being self aware.
It's time to start to pay attention on purpose! Practising Mindfulness has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and can help restore some calm to your life. Try some of the following tips throughout your day to help you tune into the moment when you feel like everything is vying for your attention.
Start your day right – instead of reaching for your phone or turning on the TV take a moment to tune into how you are feeling and do a mindful body scan. This helps you start your day in a calmer way rather than being bombarded by external stressors as soon as your eyes open. You can download your free Mindfulness Meditation Exercises here which includes instructions for this.
Drink and eat mindfully – When you have your morning or afternoon cuppa or whenever you eat something take the time to really slow down and savour it. Notice everything about it such as the smell, taste, texture etc. This helps to give your mind a break from stressful or anxious thoughts.
Put your phone away – if you are spending time with others such as having a coffee with a friend or eating a meal with a loved one then focus on them and not on your phone. This will enable you to truly appreciate the moment without being distracted and allowing other things to increase stress levels.
One task at a time – Whatever you are doing throughout the day try to focus on just one task at a time, particularly if you are feeling stress building up. Cut down on distractions such as having too many tabs open on your computer, turn off email or social media notifications and avoid trying to listen to the radio at the same time!
Take regular pauses – When you are busy you can feel like you don't have the time for a break so make sure you take regular short pauses. Take a moment to notice how you are feeling in your body, how is your posture, are your shoulders or jaw tense. Walk around and change the scenery for a few minutes. This can help to disrupt the stress response.
Notice the natural environment – Take a moment to notice the natural environment around you. Watch the birds in the garden, feel the sun on your face or breeze in your hair, notice the plants and wildlife. Most of us are too busy to really notice what is around us. If you are in a town or city then take time to look around you rather than being lost in your anxious thoughts.
Enjoy the small things – Listen to your favourite song or mindfully stroke a pet without doing anything else. Just allow yourself to be fully in the present moment. Stroking a pet can also help lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Focus on your breathing – Whenever you feel stressed or anxious then take a moment to pause and notice your breathing. If you are taking short, shallow breaths then consciously start to slow this down. Practice abdominal breathing – feel your belly rise on the inhale and contract on the exhale for a few breaths.
Night-time routine – Pay attention to your night-time routine such as having a shower, changing your clothes or simply brushing your teeth or hair. Really focus on what you are doing in the moment with all of your senses rather than letting your thoughts wander to things which make you feel stressed and anxious.
Try journaling – Night-time journaling allows you a moment tune into yourself and literally get things off your mind. Also note down at least 3 things you were grateful for during the day to put you in a better frame of mind for sleep. Journaling has many benefits and can help support your mental and emotional wellbeing. You can download your free journal below.
You can introduce Mindfulness into your life today and discover how it can help reduce stress and anxiety with the Mindfulness Mini Course/2 week challenge.
Holistic Health and Wellness Coach
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Information provided for general educational purposes only and not intended to replace medical advice