Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing.
The past year, has been full of worry and anxiety for so many of us.
That’s why doctors say now is the time to look after your own mental health.
Luckily, there are some simple exercises you can do today to give yourself even just a short break to boost your mood.
Many have been experiencing not just stress, but chronic stress, because it’s been going on for so long.
And all that pressure adds up.
According to a survey, 43.4% of adults are reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.
For perspective, pre-pandemic, from January to June of 2019, the numbers were closer to 11%.
Evidence shows us that having even small, bite-sized chunks of time that we can use to improve our health makes a difference long term.
Simply being present in the moment, or mindfulness, can go a long way in reducing stress.
Things like connecting in nature, going on a walk.
If you’re going to have a cup of coffee, instead of maybe scrolling on your phone, being on some type of social media, instead just maybe be present.
Sipping on that coffee and really noticing, how does the sensation feel of trying that?
Studies have shown a wide range of benefits, including improved focus and working memory, less emotional reactivity, and even better satisfaction in your relationships.
And besides mindfulness, I also suggest giving guided meditation a try.
There are all sorts of apps that can help you find a style that works for you.
There are things like guided imagery, which maybe you’ve tried before.
It’s where they kind of paint a picture.
And it oftentimes can result in feeling a sensation of relaxation.
And there are things like progressive muscle relaxation, where, again, it tightens those muscles and then relaxes them. There’s traditional meditation.
In the end, it’s all about helping yourself so you can be there for your family.
You are the most important person.
Because we can’t take care of others until we take care of ourselves.
So another easy way to practice a little bit of mindfulness, especially if you’re busy, just take a moment when you’re washing your hands.
For 20 seconds, focus on the water, the way it feels in your hands, what it looks like.
I know it sounds simple, but it gives your mind a break from worrying about the future, ruminating about the past.
And remember, what helps us cope can also help the family cope, so feel free to make use of these as a family exercise.
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