Mindfulness for Busy PeopleJanuary 24, 2022
It’s a new year. 2022. With continued uncertainty in the world around us, perhaps you’ve taken the opportunity to control what you can this year, your own wellness. Instead of big lofty goals that are, let’s face it, likely to be left behind in a few months, below are a few ideas on how to incorporate Mindfulness into even the busiest of lifestyles (they each only take a few minutes a day).
Vow to incorporate a few deep breaths into each day. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth or nose, making sure the exhale is at least twice as long as the inhale (this stimulates the parasympathetic, or relaxation response, in the nervous system). Did you know that shallow breathing is a sign of stress? As babies we breathe deeply, all the way into our bellies, but somewhere along the way as our lives become more stressed and busy, we lose that natural ability. How will I remember, you say? Identify a ‘trigger’ that works for you. Something you do repeatedly throughout the day to which you can add taking a deep breath. Before you answer the phone? Take a deep breath. Every time you log back into your computer, take a deep breath. (You can even change your computer password to something breath related to remind you). In the morning, instead of waking up and immediately reaching for your phone, commit to taking three deep breaths.
Studies show that a regular gratitude practice brings meaning and joy into our lives. Every night while falling asleep, imagine five people you are grateful for. Studies show that expressing gratitude for people rather than things is more meaningful (it makes sense). To keep the practice novel or interesting, every night you can focus on a different aspect of these people: their smile, the way their eyes sparkle, their laugh, etc.
3. Stretch during downtime.
We all have downtime between or before meetings, whether working from home or not. Take advantage of this time! When seated with both feet planted on the floor, cross one ankle over the opposite knee for a figure four stretch. Our hips need extra love when we sit for long periods of time.
4. Mindfully coffee drinking.
When making or picking up your cup of coffee, practice Mindfulness. Take just a moment to notice the smell and texture of your coffee beans. Place your hands around your coffee cup and notice it’s warmth, letting it warm you physically and mentally. Notice the notes of flavor, bitter, sweet, fruity, chocolate, etc.
Practice standing one leg while you are brushing your teeth, or in any down time, while waiting in line for your coffee, in the elevator, etc. Balance is key to preventing falls, especially as we get older.
I love the quote by Jim Rohn (that so much applies to wellness) “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciples, practiced every day”. Cheers to small, realistic changes that add up to big change in 2022!