Five tips for mindfulness to calm your day.
By Sarah Elizabeth John
As many of you well know, on the 1st May thousands globally are joining forces to embark on a global mindfulness challenge, Mindful in May. In doing so, not only will we be clearing our own minds, but we'll be bringing clean water to those without in the developing world. You can find a link to register to this awesome cause at the foot of this post.
As we embark on our Mindful in May challenge, Dr Elise Bialylew, founder of this powerful global initiative, shares with us her five tips for implementing mindfulness to calm your day:
1. Tune into the breath
It may sound like an irritating cliché, but there is scientific rationale for this advice. The breath is not only a powerful indicator of one’s state of mind but also a helpful modulator.
During a busy day, take a few moments to consciously tune in to the breath. Feel three breaths move in and out of the body. Then slow down the exhalation which helps to trigger the relaxation response. Extending the breath in this way sends a message to the parasympathetic nervous system (the system that opposes the stress response) to calm down the body.
2. Use your surroundings as a circuit breaker
Take moments in the day to disconnect from the flurry of to do lists and direct your attention externally by tuning in to your senses. Listen to the sounds in the room, feel your body in space, see the space you are in, notice the temperature and smells. By tuning in to your senses, just for a few moments, you give your mind a micro break from the stress of thinking.
3. Use technology with awareness
Sitting at a computer all day? Bring awareness to your posture and breath. It has been noted that email apnea, the temporary suspension of breathing while doing email, means we are inadvertently creating stress in the body. When we breathe irregularly, the body becomes acidic through retention of excess carbon dioxide. This acidity may contribute to stress related diseases. Check in with your body and breath whilst working at the computer to ensure you are getting sufficient oxygen.
4. Simplify your to do list
Bring attention to the top three priorities of your day. Break your work time into smaller blocks for higher levels of efficiency, and take short breaks between blocks. (See the pomodoro technique for further details).
5. Use your lunch as a mindful practice
Rather than eating whilst working on the computer, or missing out on lunch altogether, use your lunch as a way of practicing mindfulness. This means, noticing you are eating as you are eating, intentionally tasting your food, and bringing awareness to the act of chewing. This will give your mind an opportunity to rest from the whirlwind of the day, allowing space for mind and body rejuvenation.
Now, today is your last chance to join The Holistic Ingredient Mindful in May team, and we would really love to have you! If you fancy implementing these above techniques to work towards a clearer mind, while providing clean water to those who need it, sign up here to join our team or to make a donation, if you so wish.
Do you have any further tips for implementing mindfulness in your day? Please do share with us in the comments below.