How to reap the benefits of mindfulness in your daily life
Looking for more healthy ways to cope with daily life than a glass of wine (or two) each night?!! Find out how you can reap the benefits of mindfulness.
It’s so easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of things to do and places to be these days. We try to counteract it by doing more, but this seemingly adds to the stress. Thankfully, there’s an age-old solution on our doorstep. The practice of mindfulness has been around for centuries, and we’re now rediscovering this valuable skill to help cope with the demands of modern living.
In this blog Sue Pickford, Senior Marketing Executive at Intouch Accounting looks at how conscious thinking can positively impact our busy lives.
What is mindfulness?
Whenever the word meditation is mentioned, people tend to think of religious practices or hippies in kaftans, but it’s much more accessible than that really.
Meditation is simply a technique used to help develop concentration and focus. It normally involves sitting or lying down quietly, to try and tame the ‘monkey mind’. (Did you know we have on average 60,000 thoughts a day, and 90% are either negative or repetitive?)
Mindfulness uses that same technique on a more practical level. By checking in every so often during your day to day activities, you can train yourself to switch thoughts from negative to positive, with minimal effort.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
- Reduce stress by regulating emotions in your brain.
- Improve your concentration (focusing decreases distraction),
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle by increasing self-awareness.
- Increase happiness, which is all we’re after, right?
Four ways you can use mindfulness to cope in daily life
Are you easily irritated by your kids, colleagues or computer playing up? And how can you be more chilled about it when you’re so overwhelmed? Here are four ways you can use mindfulness to cope in daily life.
1) Prepare for the day ahead
After the morning rush of getting ready, preparing breakfasts and doing the school run etc., the perfect opportunity is the commute to work. If you’re walking to the station, focus your mind on your steps (instead of illusory problems for the day ahead). If you’re driving, take deep breaths at red lights (instead of getting road rage). Remember, even one minute of mindfulness helps.
2) Cope with stressful situations as they arise
To avoid being dragged down in a dispute, or burning out trying to hit a deadline… stop. What if you paused, took a five minute break and came back to it with a calmer attitude? Taking a moment to breathe slowly and deeply brings energising oxygen into the body, while exhaling relaxes, leaving you thinking clearer.
3) Be more productive and get better results
Actors and athletes for example, take breath work to another level by combining it with visualisation. This helps them prepare for action and perform at their best. By imagining the best outcome or ‘thinking from the end’, you’re able to take positive steps towards creating that ideal result.
4) Be a better person
How often do you really listen during a conversation? Half of the time we’re absorbed by what we’re going to say next, or trying to get a point across. When we start listening, we’re in the present moment. It allows a better connection and therefore improves relationships, even with people you would normally clash with! Compassion develops and as a result we feel good about ourselves and others.
Make mindfulness a daily habit
We spend more of our time working these days than doing anything else, so why not try and enjoy it more? If we all made the effort to turn mindfulness into a daily habit, like exercising or brushing our teeth, we could be much calmer, happier individuals in future. If you’re looking for a positive shift in your life, try it, be patient and reap the rewards!
Need more tips to help you manage stress? We recommend reading these articles:
- An easy mindfulness exercise you can use anywhere, any time
- Follow these seven steps to mindfulness
- Five proven methods to calm a busy mind
- Five healthier ways to cope with stress than wine!
Sue Pickford works for Intouch Accounting, the expert contractor accountancy firm for Limited Company contractors.