We all know that life can be stressful at times. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and we can even lose grasp on reality. This stress and anxiety can manifest and become uncontrollable, and this can in turn cause much bigger health problems. Regardless of whether it’s work-related, family-related, or from a romantic relationship, it may even be self-imposed stress, one of the best ways to manage stress is through mindfulness.
The concept of mindfulness is all about bringing yourself into the moment. Instead of letting yourself plan the future or go over the past, it’s learning how to be fully present and engaging in the now. It’s about awareness of ourselves and our current surroundings; where we are and what we’re doing. It’s about training yourself to not be overwhelmed or overreact to what’s going on. The best way to start practicing mindfulness is via meditation. We are naturally curious creatures, and the point of this meditation is to unleash that. It’s not about creating a blank mind free of thought, but rather about bringing your focus directly to your senses, emotions, thoughts, and state of mind. Pay special attention to all these sensations and to your breath in particular. It’s about noticing when your mind wanders off out of the moment and learning how to come back to your breath to rest and settle your mind.
Try and mentally scan your body, what sensations are you feeling? Maybe your ankle is itchy, or your arm feels heavy. Focus on that; the here and now. Meditation helps to concentrate these experiences, but it is also about being in touch with your thoughts and feelings, with judgment or distraction. The experience should be treated with kindness and warmth to yourself. This isn’t something that requires heaps of time in your day. It might even be as simple as taking a moment to pause and breathe when you hear your phone, instead of rushing to see who it is. The more you practice, the easier it will be to ground yourself in stressful situations. Your mind, your breath, your state of mind are all at an arm’s length just waiting to be reached. So the next time you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath, do a mental body scan, and bring yourself back to the moment.