It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. You’re sitting at Starbucks, sipping on your iced coffee, listening to the low hum of conversation all around you—when suddenly, it hits you: You have no idea what you’re doing with your life.
We’ve all had those moments when we feel lost and confused about our next steps. Maybe you’re in a job that isn’t for you anymore, or perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed by life.
Whatever the case, fear not! Because there’s an easy solution to getting back on track with your goals—and no, it doesn’t involve quitting your job and never looking back (although that can be fun too).
The answer is mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judging yourself or others. It’s sort of like meditation, but even easier!
Simply put, mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and actions in the present moment. It’s an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years. All you need to do is pay attention to how you’re feeling right now—right at this moment. That’s it!
How does mindfulness help your mental health?
Mindfulness helps your mental health by allowing you to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. This can have an incredibly positive effect on your mental health because it helps reduce stress and increase focus. Stress can cause all kinds of problems both physically and mentally, including things like memory loss or difficulty concentrating and higher blood pressure and heart rate.
That’s why practicing mindfulness to combat stress is significant for your overall well-being!
Here are helpful benefits mindfulness brings to you:
- It helps your mental health
- Enhances your sleep quality
- Helps boost the immune system
- It boosts self-confidence
So how can you get started with mindfulness?
The great news is that practicing mindfulness can be easy and very effective. Here are our top five tips for beginners to start your mindfulness journey:
1. Start small
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they try to practice mindfulness is that they start too big. You don’t have to quit your job and move to Tibet to find inner peace! Start by meditating for 10 minutes at a time in your apartment or eating a meal as slowly as possible. The more you push yourself past your comfort zone, the better you’ll be able to handle stress and conquer obstacles in the future.
2. Do it for yourself
You might have heard about how mindfulness can change your life, improve your relationships, and cure all diseases (okay, maybe not that last one…), but don’t let other people’s goals for your life become yours. It would be best to do it for yourself because you want to, not because someone else wants you to.
3. Try different things
Everyone likes different kinds of meditation or mindfulness exercises—some people prefer guided meditation while others want nothing more than silence while they eat their lunch every day. Don’t be afraid to try different things.
4. Focus on one thing at a time
We live in a fast-paced world with many distractions, especially since we’re always connected via our phones and computers. If you try to do too many things at once, you’re not going.
5. Find your focal point
When you get distracted while meditating (and we all do!), remember that you have an anchor that will bring you back every time. That might be focusing on your breath, reciting a mantra in your head, or watching something move slowly back and forth in front of you. Find something simple and neutral; whatever helps you focus on the present moment without getting swept away by thoughts about the past or future.
Here are 15 Mindfulness exercises/activities you can start:
1. Plan a solo trip.
2. Go to a concert by yourself.
3. Write a letter to your future self.
4. Take yourself on a dinner date and eat mindfully, without distractions like your phone or music.
5. Volunteer your time and energy to a cause you believe in.
6. Start a gratitude journal and write down three new things you’re grateful for every day.
7. Cook yourself dinner at home with the radio off, no TV, no phone — just you and your thoughts (and wine!).
8. Do one thing that scares you every day for a week—big or small!
9. Spend time in nature — take a walk or sit on a bench in the park and people-watch or observe nature around you.
10. Delete social media from your phone for one week (or delete it forever!).
11. Practice yoga poses and breathing exercises while listening to calming music.
12. Find your happy place.
13. Meditate in silence for about 15 minutes each day.
14. Focus on breathing for a few minutes.
15. Try progressive muscle relaxation.
Mindfulness is one of the most powerful skills you can bring into your life. The more you practice mindfulness, the more control you will have over stress and anxiety and how your body reacts to them. You’ll also find that you become more aware of the things that matter to you in life, so you can focus on what’s important and let go of what’s not.
The key is to start small and build up from there. Start with one mindfulness exercise per day, then build up from there. With enough practice, mindfulness will start to feel like second nature—and you’ll be much happier for it!