Guest Author - Aimee Wood
It is popular to be stressed these days. Reading through your Facebook feed, you may see the long to-do lists of your friends and think they must be Wonder Woman to accomplish all that they seem to do. But, what is this constant state of high alert and multi-tasking doing to us? Stress related diseases are skyrocketing but there is a movement to bring stress relief and mindfulness to our everyday lives.
5 Tips to Stay Mindful
1. Meditation. Start your day or end your day with five minutes of meditation. Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably and not have distractions. Focus on following your breath and let your thoughts float away. Don't judge your thoughts, just let them pass through you and return to your breath. Set a timer if it would help. You can even take mundane chores like cooking or washing dishes into a meditation. Fully immerse your being into the activity and concentrate on what you are doing.
2. Stay present. Don't multitask. Do one activity at a time, and do it slowly and deliberately. If you are driving, just drive. If you are talking on the phone to your friend, just talk. At mealtime, savor each bite of your food. If you are meeting up with a friend for coffee, make eye contact and listen. Don't try to do another activity while doing another. Put down the iPhone and other distractions. Be fully present and experience how that feels.
3. Let go of expectations. Do you often have predetermined ideals of the way things should be? Do you think people should act in a certain way? Let that go. Accept people where they are and let them live their lives as they please. It might not be the way you would do things, but they might think the same about you. Loving people unconditionally opens your heart to be fully present without letting your ego run the show.
4. Practice compassion. Notice how you feel when you compliment others, when you express affection, when you give hugs, and when you say thank you. The feelings that arise are almost always positive. Keep your heart in that graceful and grateful place, it just feels good.
5. An attitude of gratitude. Oftentimes, Facebook feeds generate a lot of negativity. People jump on social media to complain and rant. Try writing down everything you are grateful for before your head hits the pillow at night. Make a goal of writing five things, then extend it to ten things you are grateful for. You will be surprised how easy it is and how extraordinary it makes you feel about life.
Living mindfully in these times of busy-ness, stress, and anxiety is our ticket to happiness and better health. Let's stop glorifying negativity! Stay in the present and practice mindfulness.