Practising Mindfulness to Manage Stress
Life has many responsibilities. From showing up at work every day, paying your bills, to managing relationships and more, things seem to pile up at an overwhelming rate and make life feel uncontrollable. Amongst your many commitments, it can be difficult to set aside time for a trip to the supermarket, much less for a break to relax. Even when life is at its busiest, don’t neglect your mental and emotional needs. Sometimes what’s most important is taking some time to take care of yourself.

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The Importance of Mindfulness

Stress can exhaust you and have significant physical effects on the body. Research has shown that practising mindfulness can have a positive effect on managing anxiety and stress. By just practising a few minutes of mindful meditation every day, you can greatly reduce your stress and increase your overall quality of life. If you’re worried that you don’t have what it takes, don’t worry- it’s easy! You don’t have to be a guru to develop a solid practise.

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What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about peacefully and purposefully living in the moment for inner calm and acceptance. When you face your anxiety and stress with mindfulness, you allow yourself to calmly examine your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in your body without judgment. Mindfulness can teach you how to exchange fear of your inner thoughts and feelings with peaceful acceptance and curiosity. Therefore, mindful meditation isn’t about “emptying your mind”, but rather, purposefully examining yourself through an unbiased, gentle lens.

How to Practice Mindfulness

You don’t need anything fancy to practise mindfulness; it can be done anytime, anywhere. If you don’t know where to start, we recommend beginning with some of the simple meditations below.

Focused Breathing Meditation

Go somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Begin to notice your breathing as you inhale and exhale. Notice where your breath flows as it enters and leaves your body, but don’t try and change your breathing- rather, just observe your body’s rhythms. If your mind wanders, that’s okay, simply bring your attention back to your breathing. Try practicing this meditation for several minutes.

5 Senses Meditation

This practise can be completed while sitting in a quiet place or even while you’re on a walk. Simply go through all five senses and fully experience each sensation. First, focus on something you see, then focus on something you hear, something you feel, something you taste, and something you smell. Continue this practice for several minutes. Again, if your thoughts wander, just try to bring your thoughts back to your senses and live in the moment.

Living in the moment has always sounded too good to be true, but mindfulness can make it a reality. Mindfulness is an important practise that everyone can benefit from, with amazing effects like a reduction in stress, a better self image, lower blood pressure and even higher resistance to disease. If these benefits sound amazing to you, try to incorporate these simple mindfulness practises in your daily life. Even though it may be difficult at first, it will feel more natural as your practise. Before long, you’ll be a master of mindfulness, and gain inner peace and acceptance for your life.

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