We all experience a certain amount of stress in our day to day lives. We may often struggle to balance our work and life, or we may find it harder to separate them due to our working from home situations. Whatever levels of stress we experience, it is important for us to know how to recognise the signs to help us cope better with it. April is stress Awareness month in the UK, and the good news is that mindfulness can help us manage our stress.
Meditation is of course one of the methods, but even taking 5 minutes during a daily task, to focus internally on how you are feeling, can also help reduce stress levels. If you are feeling overwhelmed by juggling too many tasks, take a step back and write a list from the most important task, down to the least.
If last year was one of the toughest yet, for so people, having some sort of a routine may have become a thing of the past.
If you did manage to keep a routine during lockdown, good for you! I know I definitely did as I find it hard to function without one. Routines are so important because they provide us with a sense of purpose and normality. They can also make us feel better and a little bit more accomplished.
If you struggle with concentrating on your breathng during meditation, it maybe a good idea to do a simple, short, yet effective breathing exercise beforehand.
Not only does it allow you to become familiar with hearing the sound of your breath, but it will also ease you into your meditation practce. I really like the Relax breathing technique on the Calm app. You can begin this technique for only 2 minutes, and then increase it for longer depending on how you feel. The have more than one kind of breathing exercise on their app, but this one has quickly become my favourite due to its short inhales and longer exhales.
During my own research into the subject of Mindfulness, one thing that I noticed was how often it can be overlooked that mindfulness can be practiced regularly and not just during a set day or time.
The beauty of mindfulness is that it allows us to practice it, at any given time (as long as we choose to remember), when we feel we are safe and even while we are performing our routine daily activities.
A common factor that we all experience while we perform our everyday activities such as brushing our teeth and combing our hair, is that we automatically go into auto-pilot mode as we are so accustomed to these activities. When this happens, our minds will naturally wander and so remove us from the present moment.
When I began my Mindfulness journey 2 years ago, I knew very little about meditation and the different types of it. Like many, I understood the basic practice of meditation as sitting down with a good posture, for 5/10 minutes.
I certainly did not fully understand the true benefits of this practice, nor the fact that you don’t necessarily have to be sitting down to meditate. There are, actually, many forms of meditation. Fast forward a year and as I began to teach and fully embrace and appreciate Mindfulness, through an 8 week course, I learnt about the different forms of meditation and I have simplified them in the list below: