Today is one of those days that I wish I could just start over. You know what I mean? One of those days where everything you do takes a maximum amount of effort and nothing seems to turn out the way you have planned it. Mr. Webster defines mindfulness as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. I use it as a therapeutic technique. To battle the anxiety and depression, I have adopted a few mindfulness techniques to help me get through bad days like a champ.
Short meditation every morning
I never realized just how much focusing on my breathing can change my mood. I have a breathing app on my watch that helps me focus on my breathing, however, I have found that the old fashioned techniques help calm and center me the best. My favorite exercise is to breathe in slowly for a five second count, hold for five seconds and exhale for five seconds. Breathe in again, this time for six seconds, hold for six seconds, and exhale for six seconds. Do this again for seven seconds, then eight and so on. Repeat this process until you have reached a ten count hold and then work your way back down to a five second hold again. Practicing this breathing exercise several times a day really helps me keep my anxiety at bay.
Eat to nourish your body
When you are eating or drinking, focus on the food. Turn off all electronic devices (this means the tv too!) and focus on what you are putting in your body. Notice the flavor and texture of the food as well as textures and temperatures. Eat slowly and pay attention to when you are satiated (not full, but satisfied). You can lose weight this way too, I have! Pay attention to how your body responds to what you eat. That cheeseburger and fries might look tasty now, but how will it make you feel after? Weighted down, bloated, sluggish maybe?
Connect with your natural surroundings
Keeping a plant or flowers in your home can help you connect with nature, but my favorite thing to do is sit outside in the grass and stretch and play with my girls. Getting outside to exercise is a perfect time to connect with your natural surroundings. Notice how your body moves and feels as you complete your exercise. Focus on the sounds and smells around you. Be aware and in tune with your body and surroundings. Use all five of your senses. What can you see, hear and feel right now? Before I go to sleep, I close my eyes and repeat my breathing exercises. This relaxes me and helps me fall into a deeper sleep.
Mindfulness is not an exotic, taboo thing. It’s not some practice that you need to change who you are to succeed at it. It is connecting with who you are as a person. It is one of the most basic things we can do as humans; to be fully aware of where you are and what you are doing. When practiced regularly, mindfulness helps me keep from becoming too overwhelmed with my everyday responsibilities. It has really helped me grow as a wife, mother and person. It has allowed me to let go of the need to be in control and accept people and events as they are, without trying to change them. I can now set more reasonable expectations for myself without judging my own failures.
If you ever have a bad day like I did today, I hope my mindfulness techniques help you too!