i’m sure there are a million articles on this but these are just a few simple practices that help me to be more mindful in the present moment. in return i feel happier, physical pain subsides and my anxious thoughts dissipate. they’re simple, free and you can do most of them anywhere, anytime.
keep reading for more details.
take a few deep breaths. simply notice your breathing. pay attention to the way your stomach and chest move with each breath. at first this was very hard for me; when i focused on my breathing, it seemed to become something i needed to force and i could not return to breathing normally until i got distracted. if you have trouble returning your breathing to normal as well, i recommend doing a body scan. focus on your body and notice each part of you, from your feet to the top of your head. move as fast or slow as you’d like. i often imagine filling myself with light as i move upwards, this practice helps me immensely.
allow yourself to relax. focus on your body and physically release any tension you may have. some find it helpful to tighten as many muscles as you can for a few seconds, then release. i know my problem areas well and i constantly have to remind myself to relax my shoulders, neck, jaw and stomach.
take a walk. it can be short or long, slow or fast, indoors or outdoors; whatever you feel is right for the moment. i typically enjoy slow walks outside- whether that be in a park or around the parking lot on my break at work.
thank those around you, silently or literally. thank a coworker who helped you out last week. send thanks mentally to an old friend. thank the world and the nature that surrounds you. thank your body, from your brain to your toes; whatever it is that you have, take the time to be thankful for it.
drink water, but don’t just gulp it down; pay attention to the taste and any sensation you feel. this works best with cold or hot water as you can usually feel it move from your mouth all the way into your tummy. i try to do this with my hot green tea each morning and as i drink water throughout the day.
where ever you are, whatever you’re doing- stop talking, stop your music, and listen. pay attention to the sounds around you; pleasant and unpleasant, loud and quiet. it helps to close your eyes, but it is not necessary; either way, you’ll be surprised at how much you notice and how quickly you’re withdrawn from your worries of tomorrow.
physically touch something and notice how it feels. touch something with an interesting texture, run your fingers over the lines of your palm, get in a tub or pool and feel the water on each part of your body. truly focus on what you feel and let yourself get lost in it, even if only for a moment.
picture yourself happy. imagine being calm and content. don’t focus too much on what you’re doing in the visualization, focus on the feeling; happiness, joy, calm. often when we close our eyes and focus on a feeling, we fill the visual space with something that matches the feeling; this happens all the time with negative emotions so make it work for you and focus on happiness.
thank you for taking time out of your life to read this. i hope you find these practices as helpful as i do.