Finding a way to relieve some pressure in a time-effective manner is key to healthily handling your stress. Mindfulness may be the one for you!
Mindfulness has a strong calming effect, using grounding methods to counteract what may feel like an overwhelming level of stress. By appreciating your present environment, you become involved in your current situation, and remove yourself from past or future worries. Mindfulness also allows you to examine the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing. By developing an objective view of each thought, you can prioritise what you must handle, and accept what is out of your control. It is a medically recommended therapeutic technique to both treat and manage mental health. So, even if stress is not a current issue for you, mindfulness techniques will grow your emotional resilience to dealing with potential future difficulties.
It may sound complex, but here are five steps to get you going:
1) Find a time and place: it is a very portable practice that you can do anywhere and at any time, but getting into a routine will help you stick with it. It is best to be somewhere you can sit comfortably and without distraction.
2) Become aware of your breathing: breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This slows down your heart rate, putting you in a relaxed state. Focus on each breath – how it sounds and how it feels. The idea is to concentrate entirely on your breathing,
3) Become aware of your body: noticing how your body feels with each breath. Mentally scan your body from your feet to your head, moving up a stage with each breath. The idea is that you concentrate entirely on how each area feels.
4) Become aware of your mind: letting each thought pass you by. Imagine thoughts as something independent from yourself, passing one-by-one in front you. Is a thought necessary right now? Then it can stay. Is about something out of your control? Then it can pass you and leave.
5) Become aware of your surroundings: slowly easing yourself back into your present environment. Go through the five key senses: taste, smell, touch, sound, sight. What are you aware of with each sense? As you move through each sense, you can appreciate your present situation. Take time to do this step.
When you first practice mindfulness, set yourself a small time goal such as 5 minutes, but praise yourself for any and every attempt made. As you continue to practice mindfulness, you will improve in your ability to control your thought processes and can increase the length of each session for increased benefits. Importantly, you can get benefits from short sessions. Using mindfulness provides you with emotional relief and resilience in the midst of a busy schedule. Discover mindfulness, your new way to manage your stress and mental well-being!
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