Our culture glorifies the idea of being busy. Additionally, multi-tasking has become increasingly common. Many individuals are constantly connected to their smartphones and email notifications. Thus, it makes sense that many people are turning to time-tested practice to help them to find a sense of calm and stability throughout the day.
As clinicians, it is especially critical that we find some time to be mindful during our busy workdays. Engaging in basic mindfulness practices can help us to feel calmer, less stressed and more able to engage with the clients that we serve. The following are three quick mindfulness practices that you can easily squeeze into a busy workday.
1. Engage in 10 Minutes of Guided Meditation
Meditation is highly beneficial in regards to reducing stress and improving focus. [i] Every morning, I do a 10-minute guided meditation. I’ve found that this helps me to feel calmer and more grounded throughout the day.
I enjoy using the meditation app, Headspace. I would also recommend the app, Stop, Breathe & Think.
Taking even 10 minutes out of your day to meditate can be so beneficial in regards to decreasing anxiety, coping with stress and feeling more grounded.
2. Do One Activity Mindfully
You don’t need to engage in a formal meditation practice to garner the benefits of mindfulness. A study conducted by Harvard researcher, Matt Killingsworth, found that “people who focused on their present moment experience were significantly happier than people whose minds wandered away from the moment.”[ii]
Pick one task per day that you can do mindfully, such as when you are taking a shower, drinking your coffee in the morning or eating breakfast.
Gillian Galen, a psychologist, says, “When you have breakfast tomorrow, simply sit and eat your breakfast. Don’t read the paper, scan at your e-mail or read the cereal box. Notice your experience. Notice when you become distracted by urges to do other thingsd bring yourself back to the full experience of eating breakfast (experiencing the tasks, smells, temperature, and so on).”[iii]
Our culture emphasizes multi-tasking, and for many of us it may be rare to fully be in the present moment. Thus, engaging in a simple mindfulness practice can be highly beneficial.
3. Find a Form of Mindful Movement
It can be incredibly helpful to find some kind of mindful movement, especially for those of us who spend much of our day sitting. Rather then thinking of exercise as a chore or punishment, aim to practice some form of joyful movement during your week.
Some ideas for mindful movement include the following:
- Try taking a gentle yoga class.
- Go for a mindful walk in the morning or on a break in your workday.
- Engage in some gentle stretching.
- Go for a swim or a bike ride.
Whatever form of movement that you decide upon, work to ensure that you are present in the current moment. Additionally, it is important that you find a form of movement that you truly enjoy.
Tying it Together
It’s critical that as helping professionals, we remember to “put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others.” Utilizing self-care and mindfulness practices can help us to recharge and be more present for the clients that we serve.
By incorporating some of these mindfulness practices into your daily routine, you can learn how to better cope with stress, enhance your focus and boost your mood.
[i] Corliess, J. (January 8, 2014). Mindfulness meditation may easy anxiety, mental stress. Retrieved from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967
[ii] New research shows that mindfulness is the secret to happiness. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://mrsmindfulness.com/ted-talk-happiness-is-mindfulness/
[iii] Galen, G. (n.d.). More about mindfulness. Retrieved from: http://www.bpdcentral.com/blog/?More-about-Mindfulness-Doing-Things-In-the-Moment-51