While news headlines focus on how vaccinations will help us return to some level of normalcy by late 2021, many people feel deeply depleted from the fatigue of living a restricted, far-from-normal-life for almost a year.
So, what can we do to feel better until our days and nights resemble some version of our pre-pandemic lives? How do we make the most of these times, despite the challenges?
Even though we may not be able to do all of the things we normally like to do, it’s important to our emotional health that we do what we can to feel positive, create memories and get the most out of every day. The alternative is to simply go through the motions focusing on what we don’t have and losing this valuable time in our lives.
How we take care of ourselves especially right now makes a huge difference in how we feel every day. As a certified mindfulness and meditation instructor, I know that if we intentionally focus on living more mindfully, we will feel calmer, happier, more productive, focused and less anxious.
I want to share 7 simple mindfulness practices that will help you experience all of those things, plus help you feel more creative, energized, patient with yourself and others, so you can enjoy the moments of your life right now.
Before revealing the 7 practices, I want to share this definition of Mindfulness:
Mindfulness is a way of being in the world. You are being mindful when you engage your attention in the present moment and let your mind and senses be full with what you are experiencing with a non-judgmental attitude.
It’s about having your attention engaged in the here and now, and continually refocusing on the present moment.
To help you better manage stress, shift your mindset and feel more positive, try these 7 mindfulness practices:
1. Be ALL IN to Enjoy the Moments of Your Life – instead of focusing on the past or the future, try focusing only on the very moment you’re experiencing -- the one thing you’re doing at any given time. For example, when you eat a meal or drink something, do it mindfully and focus all of your attention on that one activity.
Take a walk in nature without talking on your phone. Pay attention to the sounds of nature. When you’re having a conversation with someone, focus only on that person instead of occasionally checking your phone. Being fully present with whatever it is you’re doing enrich your experience no matter what it is.
2. When Rushed, Stop - Pause - Reset. Whenever you feel overwhelmed from trying to do too many things at once, simply stop – pause – reset by taking a few deep breaths. Check in with yourself about why you’re in such a frenzy. If you’re working on a project, hurrying will likely increase your chances of making mistakes. Instead, choose to slow down by stopping – pausing – resetting and calm your mind in minutes. You’ll feel more relaxed, able to focus, and make good decisions if you operate mindfully from a foundation of calmness vs chaos.
3. Stop the Multitasking Myth. Our brains are not designed to multitask even though some people think they’re pro’s at it. What people are actually doing when they think they’re multi-tasking is constant task switching. When it comes to tasks that require cognitive effort, our brains can’t do more than one thing at a time. Try focusing on “mono-tasking” where you put your attention on one task at a time. Turning off email notifications on your computer and phone will help you do this more easily.
4. Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude. There is always something we can be grateful for, but such things get overlooked if we’re not intentionally concentrating on those good things. Every day, identify 3 things you’re grateful for in your life. Feeling grateful changes your mental, physical and emotional state. You’ll feel more present, optimistic and upbeat.
5. Implement a Routine of Mindfulness Reminders. Take full advantage of desktop, laptop and phone timers that you can schedule to chime and remind you come back to the present moment. Some people have rituals like scheduling a chime 10 min. before every zoom call or every 90 minutes so that they stop the busyness and come back to the present moment. Doing this will help you reset your focus so you can be fully engaged with whatever is next on your schedule. Also, taking breaks frequently will reduce stress and re-energize you throughout your day.
6. Practice Emotional Self-Control. Has anyone ever said something or done something that caused you to have an automatic negative mental response? With stress levels reaching an all-time high during Covid, you may feel more susceptible to overreacting. Before responding to something that has triggered you, take a few breaths, and think about whether what you’re about to say or write in an email is helpful or potentially damaging. A few seconds of reflection will help you take charge of your emotions and prevent a negative automatic response. Don’t let your emotions highjack you! You always have a choice in how you want to respond to anything. Practicing emotional self-control will help calm you and bring you back from an agitated state to the present moment, so you can collect your thoughts before responding.
7. Meditate Every Day to Supercharge Your Ability to be Mindful. You can develop a foundation of mental fitness and calmness by alleviating stress every day through meditation. Meditation is as simple as sitting and breathing. Meditating trains your brain to let go and relax, while increasing your ability to focus and practice emotional self-control. If you feel less stressed, you will be better equipped to manage the some of the harsh realities of life during a pandemic.
With all of these 7 practices, the more you do them, the more you train your brain to respond to cues that expand your level of mindfulness.
Being more mindful will help you have more clarity about what you need to do take good care of yourself, your family, your team, etc.
Mindfulness increases your ability to be feel positive and grateful for all that is right in your world. Living a more mindful life will inspire you to create memories with your family, and to focus on enjoying the moments of your life that will never return.
Mindfulness will help you become more competent in many areas that impact your career, health, family, finances, relationships, and essentially everything in your life.
I specialize in working with leaders to teach them all about mindfulness, meditation, and how to leverage those practices to develop their emotional intelligence and become even more successful in their lives.
If you want to learn more about how I do that, schedule a complimentary call with me by clicking here. Together, we can figure out if I can help you or at least recommend some good next steps for you.