Mindfulness gets a lot of play these days, but what does it really mean? Often people associate it with meditation, which it can be, but I think the utility of mindfulness to manage stress, overwhelm and anxiety, and to connect more to your own inner wisdom in everyday life. So what actually is it and how can it be useful? Here you will find 3 simple steps you can use today to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life immediately.


What is Mindfulness?

In simple terms, mindfulness is our innate ability to notice, and be present with what is in any given moment. In our over stimulated environments, we have slipped farther and farther away from this as an innate ability. If you watch a young child, or a baby, they are mesmerized with what is happening in any given moment, whether they are laughing or crying, they are present in the moment, not consumed with their own internal thoughts, or fixated on what they have to do next.

Have you ever had that experience of having a phone conversation while driving somewhere (hopefully safely, with bluetooth or headset!) and and when you arrive at your destination you realize that you don’t even recall the scenery that you passed by on the way? That is the opposite of mindfulness! But this is a normal practice in our days, doing more than one thing at a time with limited capacity to focus on any of them.

Mindfulness is our ability to be with, and observe what is happening, wether this is something occurring outside of us, or inside of us, like our emotions or reactions to things.

How to be more mindful in daily life

So you understand the basic concept of mindfulness, but are not sure how to apply this to every day life, I get that! First of all, you don’t have to start a meditation practice, though mindfulness meditation has great benefits, including, but not limited to: improved concentration, improved physical health, reduced anxiety, stress and overwhelm, and it can also improve ones self compassion. But a good place to start are to try these 3 things:

  1. Breath. Anytime in your day that you start to feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious just stop what you doing and take 3 breaths. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Do this as many times during the day as you are called to do. It may not come naturally, but the more you do it, the better it feels and the more naturally you can incorporate it into your daily life. Some tips to make it successful: set an alarm to remind you to breath or take 3 breaths at every transition point you have in a day, like at the start or ending of meetings, or when you take bathroom breaks.

  2. Stretch. You can start seated and simply stretch your legs out in front of you snd drape your head down. If it is available to you, grab hold of your thighs, your calves or your feet and settle into a stretch. Notice how your body feels, where you are tense, where you are relaxed.

  3. Observe. Stop and notice what is around you. Take note of your environment, of the colors, the textures, the sounds, the smells. Just taking 1 minute to do this can bring you into a calm state and help you feel more in touch with yourself. Do this as many times during a day that you can think of it. You can also set reminders, or do it when you breath.


Why be more mindful?

You might be wondering, why do this? As you may have read on my home page, we tend to manage feelings in a variety of ways (suppression, expression, escape) which leads to the unhealthy outlet of feelings, or pent up and unexpressed emotions that can lead to depression, anxiety, stress and unhealthy relationships. Our ability to notice and feel what is happening when it is actually happening will not only support us to heal from whatever we are struggling with, but it will also help us connect more to ourselves, listen to our intuition and make choices moving forward that are ultimately in our own best interest. It will help us with our overall mental well being.

Try just those 3 things for 1 week or one month and see what shifts, what changes. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to feel feelings, especially if we have suppressed or repressed them for so long. If you are struggling to apply these practices without support, please reach out to me, or another therapist to see how therapy can help. For now, in this moment, just try to Stop, Look and Listen to your Heart.

Remember, you are not alone. You have you.

With love,