If you live in the 21st century, chances are you’ve caught yourself steaming in traffic or gritting your teeth trying to meet a tight deadline. Our lives are faster and more efficient, but stress and anxiety have become part of our modern lifestyles and burnout is common.
Mindfulness is a meditation practice of being aware of the present moment and your emotions without judgment. Pundits of this practice say taking a few minutes out of your day to anchor your thoughts can improve your mental and overall well-being.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) was developed over 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The practice is now used to treat people with stress-related disorders and psychological conditions like anxiety and depression.
Stress is often caused by the mind and the way we perceive what is going on in the present moment, says Linda Kantor, MBSR programme facilitator.
‘Nowadays the mind can be so busy, judging how things are, wishing that things were some other way, planning incessantly and rehashing the past that this invariably causes us stress,” she said.
Achieving a state of mindfulness is as simple as taking a few minutes out of your day and here are a five simple ways to incorporate the practice into your daily life.
- Notice if you are feeling your breathing at certain times of the day.
- When you phone rings, take a few moments to notice your breath before you reply.
- While washing the dishes, notice if you are present for the experience by focusing on the feeling of the water on your skin.
- Slow down and bring your attention to the act of chopping the vegetables as you cook dinner.
- When you wake up notice what thoughts your mind is busy with.
- Before going to sleep, see if you can bring your attention to the sensations in the body from the toes up to the head.