The term mindfulness has been used a great deal recently, especially in the media, with many understanding it to be a Buddhist meditation technique. While mindfulness does indeed stem from Buddhist meditation, it has evolved to be a key tool for connecting with ourselves and easing stress – and you don’t have to sit cross legged meditating for hours to cultivate it.
Instead, you can use elements of mindfulness practice to help you find calm when everything around you is anything but. Here we look at some easy ways you can do this.
Situation: You are feeling frustrated and tense
Try: A body scan
When you are feeling frustrated and tense, your body is likely to be tense as well. An easy way to reconnect with your body and ease this tension is doing a body scan.
You can do this anywhere at any time, simply take a few minutes to be quiet and do a mental scan of your body starting at your feet. Notice how they feel against the floor and then consciously relax them. Next, move up to your lower legs, noting how they feel and making a point of relaxing them too. Continue to do this all the way up to your head, until you are fully aware and physically relaxed. This will bring your mind to the present and should help to ease any feelings of frustration.
Situation: You need to have a difficult conversation
Try: Mindful communication
This can be a stressful situation for anyone, but by being mindful in your conversation you can help yourself remain calm. Try to be aware of your body, note your body language and try to soften it if possible. Next, be aware of the language you’re using to talk – aim to use ‘I’ language (e.g. ‘I feel…’) as this can help dissipate conflict. Finally ensure you are fully aware of what the other person is saying and really listen – the more relaxed you are, the easier this will be.
Situation: You are feeling overwhelmed
Try: Belly breathing
When everything gets on top of you, it can really help to focus on your breathing. The next time you are feeling upset or overwhelmed place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Breathe naturally and focus on the rising and falling of your belly. Continue until you feel more relaxed.