The Beginner’s Guide To Mindfulness
How To Focus on Gratitude, Reducing Stress + the Life-Changing Tools I Use Daily
Mindfulness: Purposefully present and in-the-moment with the goal of “achieving a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment.” When was the last time you paid attention to your mind, thoughts or feelings?
When I first moved from North Carolina to upstate New York, I was three months into starting L. Rae, working from home, navigating living with a significant other for the first time. I didn’t know a single soul, or even how to get to the grocery store. Needless to say, it was a lot of change. Overwhelmed, stressed, and perpetually feeling behind, I researched, Googled, desperately searching for a solution.
I did some research and kept stumbling upon the words “mindfulness”, “meditation” and “gratitude”. So I decided to learn more. What do those things even mean? I look at it as a mindful and purposeful self check-in. I check in with my mind, body and spirit. After ever session, I immediately feel lighter. I can mentally and logically tackle my work load. I am calmer, happier and more patient.
Meditating or practicing mindfulness help to:
– Increase focus
– Reduce stress
– Improve attention
– Increase self-awareness and acceptance
– Decrease anxiety and depression
– Improve mood
Meditation and mindfulness are also said to improve pain tolerance, sleep and age-related memory loss. Who wouldn’t want even just one or two of those things?
The Current Tools I Use
The Calm App – This is the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Whether you just want music to help you focus, guided meditations, video lessons on body movements/stretching, master classes or nature scenes and sounds – this app has it ALL.
Additional Sessions – If I start to feel anxious again during the day, I’m not afraid to start a second session. The app has a timed option, so if you really need to refocus and you only have 2 minutes to spare, you can set the session and quickly get started.
Daily Reminders – During extra stressful days I set up the in-app reminders. These little alerts will pop up on my phone and remind me to take a moment, breathe and simply be throughout the day.
The Five-Minute Gratitude Journal – Any gratitude journal will do but this one is the best (in my opinion). It’s simple, guided and literally takes five minutes. I fill out my daily journal entry after my Calm app session as I find I have a clearer mind and am very connected to my thoughts and feelings.
The 4-7-8 Method – The 4-7-8 Breathing Method brings attention to your breathing and allows you to reset. It helps calm stress, reduce anxiety and even helps you fall sleep.
Start by sitting up straight in a comfortable position.
Next, place the tip of your tongue on the ridge of your gums, just behind your upper front teeth.
Expand your diaphragm and slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4 and hold your breath for a full count of 7.
Open your mouth slightly, keeping your tongue in place, and exhale for 8 counts.
Repeat this 4 times.
What daily practices do you use to help with anxiety or stress? Comment below.
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