In this modern world wherein you can easily get caught up in the daily grind, it is so easy to say that life can get busy. You get preoccupied with your long list of to-do’s, along with tasks and paperwork which no longer seem to end. The trap here is as you get more and more engrossed in the demands of the world, you tend to be more distant and less attentive to your inner self. It is when mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression come into the picture. The sad part is that, sometimes, no amount of counseling or online therapy could help you find yourself.
How Can Mindfulness Affect You?
“Every person goes through ups and downs throughout the course of life, but depression is more than sometimes feeling sad or experiencing a slight mood shift during a difficult life season or following a loss. Depression is powerful and colors the lenses of the person experiencing it. Life can feel meaningless and one might feel worthless, inadequate, and like a failure, despite evidence that indicates otherwise. As much as we all wish that they could just “snap out of it” and think positively, this is often an unrealistic task for one truly experiencing depression.” – Karin Draper, LMFT
In times when external help does not seem to patch things together, mindfulness could offer a different kind of relief. It is a way to redirect a person’s focus away from self-incriminating and distracting thoughts into self-building and uplifting perspectives. It is similar to meditation in a way that lets you pay attention to your inner self without the fear of being judged by others. This way, you get rejuvenated to bounce back to a lighter mood and to cope with mental health problems in a better way. It also makes you more creative, decisive, and open.
How Can You Practice Mindfulness Every day?
Without knowing it, there are a lot of ways for you to be able to squeeze in mindfulness in your busy day. Here’s how:
- Set A Quiet Time
Even though you are set to work 8 hours a day, always use your allotted break time. During lunch, for example, give yourself a minimum of 15 minutes to sit somewhere quiet and all by yourself. Start breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention to this rhythm. It trains your mind to be present in the moment rather than scramble about thoughts either about the past or future.
- Go For A Walk
If sitting does not go well with you, try walking for a change. Similar to what you do when you sit down, pay attention to your breathing as you walk. Straighten your posture, relax your arms, and feel every step. Clear your mind of the things that distract you and free yourself of the feeling that you have to rush into things. Make it an easy and slow walk.
- Write Things Down
It does not need to be a full-blown and comprehensive diary entry that you have to write every day; having to fulfill that in itself brings in pressure already. Write as you wish – at your own pace, when you want to, and just how long or short you want to write. Just write there what you feel and think of at the moment. It is an excellent way to let go of your thoughts and make you more aware of how you perceive and process things.
Katie Morton, LMFT, advises her patients to start journaling. She says, “You can vent in many other ways… like doing art of any sort, through music, calling a friend and venting, I personally like to color or call a friend if I am upset.. so just try different things and see what works for you! I just say journal cause its something we can do anywhere.. but its really something we do to vent.”
- Speak To Yourself
Mantra meditation has always been the most familiar form of practicing mindfulness every day. It is the repetition of a calming word or phrase to yourself over and over whenever you face a situation that triggers a mental health problem. As you calm yourself down while you talk, continue to practice proper and paced breathing. It would help your mind be at peace and also relax your body and senses.
Toni Rey, LMFT, says, “You’ve probably heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Self-talk is very much like a self-fulfilling prophecy – something you think about so much you can actually make it happen. When your self-talk is positive – “things will work out,” “I know I can do the job”- you are giving yourself permission to succeed, and chances are, you will. Often your self-talk reflects the values and behaviors you learned as a child, and the self-esteem you now have as an adult.”
- Be Still
This one is something that you can do at various times of the day. When you feel drowning in your work, keep your eyes away from the keyboard for a while and pause. Close your eyes. Try to clear your mind as you pace your breathing. When driving, you can turn off the sound system first and enjoy the silence inside your car as your drive. When you step outside, you can stop and observe the things that happen around – children crossing the street, the trees swaying with the wind, a group of friends chatting over coffee.
The thing about mindfulness is stillness and being in the moment. It grounds you back to your inner self and empowers you to face the challenges ahead. Disconnect from the busy externalities to reconnect with your internal motivations. Because of this, amid a busy world that somehow forces you to break apart to be in multiple places at once, mindfulness can get you back together so you can face the world stronger.