Practicing mindfulness can help you stay present and focused during the day. It allows you to lend your full attention to the activity at hand instead of getting sidetracked by thinking about groceries you forgot to buy for instance, or the package you need to mail, or that interaction you had with a co-worker earlier in the day. Here are some of my mindfulness tips:
- Sensations: Pay attention to your 5 senses as you go about your everyday tasks. Even if your to-do list is filled with tedious chores, pay attention to the details of each one. This simple act can help you become more aware throughout the day.
- Breathing: In stressful situations, slowing your breathing can help calm your mind and bring you back to the present. When you feel overwhelmed, focus on your breath with this 4-4-4 breathing technique: breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and release for 4 counts. Repeat a few times until you feel more relaxed.
- Meditation: Meditation can reduce stress by teaching you how to acknowledge the thoughts that are distracting you and how to release them.
Remember that mindfulness takes time to master. As you continue to practice this skill, staying in the present will become second nature.
Stressful days often create stressful thoughts and allowing this chaos to brew in your mind causes the distress you feel to grow. Keeping a journal can help you sort through this “mental clutter”. Researchers have found that writing down your thoughts can limit intrusive thoughts, which in turn lets cognitive functions such as memory function more smoothly. Put your thoughts on paper - it’s almost like removing them from your mind. Below are some of the journaling tips I practice:
- Consistency: Set aside time to journal every day. Whether you choose to write in the morning or before bed, make journaling a daily habit.
- Flow: When journaling, write down anything on your mind. Let your thoughts circulate and try not to limit yourself or cross things out. Give yourself a chance to review the day and record any recurring thoughts or difficult moments. You’ll be surprised what you discover.
- Reflect: After journaling for a few weeks, consider how your thoughts have changed or if they stayed the same. Use this information as an opportunity to learn about yourself on a deeper level.
Music is more than just a source of entertainment. There are plenty of benefits that you may not even realize it does for you such as:
- Improve mood, concentration, and memory.
- Decrease stress.
- Encourage learning.
Music can also make it easier to remain attentive and engaged. Create playlists that suit specific tasks or curate a set of songs that will help you relax.
Not getting enough rest can cause some hiccups during your day. You may feel more irritable, unable to concentrate, make decisions, or regulate your emotions. This is because a lack of sleep results in mental fatigue and emotional distress. Good quality sleep is refreshing and can help you when you’re feeling physically tired. To restore your brain, try to get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
After sitting in your office chair for hours on end, you may feel drained or groggy. Try going on a walk in nature. A change in your environment is a great way to refocus and clear your mind. Walking is extremely beneficial and can help you generate fresh ideas while also minimizing stress. Additionally, physical activity for at least 20 minutes a day not only improves cognitive function but is also important for overall health. Try to add a quick walk around the block or any other type of exercise into your daily routine.
Your surrounding space can impact your mental space. When your desk is messy, your brain might have a more difficult time focusing. Tidying up your workspace can be necessary for getting back on track, but it can also eat up a lot of time. Commit to cleaning up your work environment at the end of each day.