This particular year (2020) has been highly unpredictable due to the occurrence of simultaneous events ranging from a Global pandemic to the Yemen Humanitarian Crisis consequently filling our lives with fear and uncertainty about the future. All these negative feelings and thoughts might take a toll on us at times making us feel more demotivated and distressed; all of which can not only greatly impact our mental health but may possibly affect our physical health.
There are numerous studies which show a correlation between poor mental health and the diagnosis of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and obesity (Oberheu, 2019). Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize our mental health, especially during such times of uncertainty.
There are many ways that one can better their mental health, one of which is through practicing mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is essentially a process that allows us to be fully aware and focused in our present, allowing ourselves to feel and let go of any emotions, sensations, and thoughts without feeling overwhelmed or anxious by what is currently going on around us ( “What is Mindfulness, 2020). Mindfulness does not only aid in increasing self-awareness but also helps in reducing stress, enhancing emotional intelligence, and providing one with mental clarity.
Although practicing mindfulness is easier said than done, there are many steps you can take to enhance this skill, make it a part of your lifestyle, and develop inner peace.
Here are some steps that can be taken to Practice Mindfulness:
1. Engage in Mindfulness Meditation & Mindful Breathing
One of the key ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation which primarily revolves around focusing on your breathing and being aware of your presence. There is a practice meditation published by VeryWellMind (2020) that is suitable for beginners as well:
- Set aside Meditation Time ( Your meditation time can range from 10 mins to even an hour but make sure to set aside some time from your day dedicated solely to mindful meditation to achieve its benefits)
- Get comfortable (Find a quiet and comfortable place with no distractions so that you can focus and fully be committed to this time set aside)
- Focus on breathing ( Become aware as you inhale and your stomach expands to when you exhale and stomach contracts. Become fully aware and focus completely on each breath you take)
- Constantly return to breathing (It is normal for people to get carried into other thoughts, prior commitments, and emotions that are currently surrounding them, but whenever you feel like your focus is shifting from your breathing to other thoughts, return to breathing. In the beginning, the focus will be hard to achieve for prolonged periods of time but you have to remember, Practice doesn’t only make perfect but practice indeed makes permanent).
Also Read: How to Tap Into Your Subconscious Mind
2. Mindful Journaling
Mindful Journaling is a great way of increasing self-awareness and gaining mental clarity. This form of journaling is also known as ‘meditative writing’ as we aim to express ourselves (such as any thoughts/actions running through our minds or any emotions we feel in our hearts) as innately as possible and write everything down. We should also make sure to write down why we feel this way to become aware of the issues bothering us to which we can then try to find a solution.
Also Read: How to Write a Journal [8 Steps]
3. Mindful Coloring
Mindful coloring allows us to focus on what colors we choose to color certain sections and this can help us become more aware of ourselves, preventing us from engaging in continuous thoughts and overthinking. Mindful coloring is also proven to have various benefits as it can help you unwind and relax, uplift your mood, and decrease anxiety and stress (Gifford, 2017).
These are a few ways that you can practice and make mindfulness a part of your lifestyle. Although some might seem to take up time from your day, you need to understand that you will only be able to grow and gain happiness in your life if you take care of your mental health and develop skills that can help you prevent overthinking and other negative habits, one of which is mindfulness.
Also Read: How to Stop Overthinking [10 Proven Ways]
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