Learning how to be mindful changed my life, as it enabled me to alleviate the stresses and pressures I felt in my busy life by practicing open-mindedness and by getting in touch with the here and now. So, here are six ways to be mindful even when your busy because sometimes you just need a few minutes (or hours) to reconnect with yourself and your surroundings. Say goodbye to thoughts about the past and future and hello to the present moment!
1. Figure 8 BreathingGiphy
This one is easy. All you have to do is draw the number eight with your finger or a pencil. For the first half of the number, count to eight. From 0-5 seconds, breath in deeply, and, from 5-8 seconds, hold your breath. When drawing the second half of the number, count to eight and breath out for eight seconds. Repeat this as many times as you want with 5 repetitions as the minimum. That's only 80 seconds total. You definitely have time for that! This exercise is great for people with very little time, but who have stress and anxiety. It can help you to focus on the present, instead of worrying about the past or future.
2. 7 - 4 - 7 Breathing
This exercise is similar to the first one but is a different breathing pattern. First, take a deep breath for 7 seconds, and hold your breath for 4 seconds. Then, breath out for 7 seconds. Repeat as much as you want with 5 as the minimum number of repetitions. That is only 90 seconds total. You can definitely squeeze that into your busy day, especially since it can help to alleviate stress and help you to focus on the present moment and reconnect with yourself.
3. Studying artwork
You can use paintings to stay in the present. By analyzing what is happening in them (or not happening) and by observing the colors and the shapes, we can draw our minds towards the present, instead of the past or future. This can help to ease our anxieties and stresses. I recommend checking out the book, Looking at Mindfulness, by Christophe André if you want more instructions! Otherwise, enjoy being open minded with art on your own!
4. Using technology!https://unsplash.com/photos/4jy1DQKmX2w
There are so many free mindfulness and meditation apps in the app store. Simple Habit - Meditation, Mindfulness Daily, Calm, and Headspace are just a few of the many (free!) choices available. You can spend as much or as little time on these apps as you want. Mindfulness is what you make it!
5. Eating habits
This exercise might seem a little strange, but bear with me. If you slow down your eating by holding that potato chip for a few extra seconds, smelling it, and letting it sit in your mouth, you can actually enjoy eating more. Sometimes, eating can become a mindless activity, but, with mindfulness, you can gain more control of your life and enjoy what you eat!
6. Bird Watching
While this activity might remind you of your 75-year-old grandmother, it is actually a quick and relaxing exercise that can allow you to more fully connect with your surroundings and, therefore, the present moment. Whether you sit down for an hour during your free time to search for common birds in your area or are simply glancing at the trees and sky on your way to class, make sure that you notice what you hear, feel, and see. Happy bird watching!
Whether or not you choose to practice all of these mindfulness exercises, you should definitely try at least one because everyone deserves to live a relatively stress-free life!