At some point in our early to mid 20s, our lives become stressful. With jobs, school, children, family, businesses and the bills don’t pay themselves. Among all the chaos, it’s easy to get so wrapped up you forget to breathe. Self care is extremely important and living in the moment helps keep us in check. Over the years, I have learned a few ways to keep myself grounded. I’m not perfect at it, but it does help me settle down. I have been less stressed and less anxious since I started studying and trying to practice mindful meditation and here are four simple and fast tips for when you don’t have the time to go to Yoga or meditate.
1. Practice mindfulness in the car on your commute- don’t zone out to the radio, don’t let all your stress pile up in your brain and just watch the road- take in every sense. I read that most of us tend to kind of zone out on our commute- we enter a kind of daze and our minds wonder. Start practicing not letting your mind wonder- look at the car in front of you, really listen to the lyrics of the song on the radio or turn the radio off and listen to the sound of your car, the traffic and nature- whatever the sounds around you are.
Don’t let yourself think and just focus on feeling as calm and relaxed as you safely can.
I found that since trying this one, when I achieve it, I’m more patient and get less annoyed when I get cut off. I also no longer feel any anxiety when I have near hits (I’ve almost had 3 people wreck into me and I almost merged into someone)
None of those times made me react- I was able to quickly get away from the cars without reacting and without wrecking- and no anxiety.
2. Meditate yourself to sleep-
This is a major one for me. I try to focus on the sounds of my daughter or husband breathing, my breathing, the cat moving around downstairs and the sounds outside. Close your eyes, clear your mind and don’t allow any stressful thoughts to cross your mind. Anytime you fail (and there will be slip ups), don’t stress and just push it out of your mind. In the end, start counting and count as far as you can before you fall asleep. I almost always count myself to sleep every night and I never go further than 30 to 40.
3. Meditate in the shower
When you’re getting ready for work, try to take a shower mindfully- really feel the water splashing down your body. Feel the heat from the water as it steams (if you like your showers as hot as I do). Take time to smell the soap and shampoo you use. Notice the feel of the washcloth or loofah. Use all 5 senses and bring yourself to the moment. When you’re in the moment, you don’t have time to think about the stresses and to do list for today.
4. Practice mindful eating
This is one that can help you lose weight as well as helping destress.
Too often, we scarf down our food- we don’t savor it and we don’t enjoy it- and we eat more than we’re meaning to eat. Instead of fixing a huge breakfast and quickly eating it, take a bite. Take one bite and let it sit in your mouth for a bit. Notice the way it tastes, the texture, the thickness- make sure to smell it and use all your senses to really experience your meal. Do this with all meals and snacks- in time, it will come second nature and it’s not as time consuming as typing it out makes it sound. When you eat mindfully, you become aware of what you’re putting in your body- you get to know your hunger cues and you learn to slow down, eat less so you won’t feel as full and uncomfortable.
Once you start trying these, you’ll find that it will help you get in the moment. Instead of being stressed constantly and feeling sick and fatigued, it will help you feel more in the now and after a few weeks of deliberately getting in the moment, it will come second nature. You will no longer lay in bed wide awake stressed, you’ll start focusing on the feelings and counting down to sleep. Once you have made this your new habit, you’ll have less stressful commutes to work and you will be able to react easier. It is literally all in the mind.
*disclaimer: None of this should be taken as psychological/medical advice- these are things I found help me after reading several books and magazines and putting the practice into my own life.*