6 Mindfulness Tips To Help Reduce Stress And Anxiety
From the stress of working from home to being unable to travel, it has definitely hit hard for most of us as we adjust to the new normal.
Especially in today’s world with COVID-19, the importance of mindfulness becomes even more important.
Personally, I have picked up some new mindfulness habits that help me take care of my personal and mental well being especially during this period.
TAKE NOTE: I do not provide any medical advice. These tips that I share are what I do on a regular basis. Do consult your medical practitioner if you have any issues or have concerns on your health and well being.
Without further ado, here are some things that I practice:
In the past I never knew why or how people even meditate at all. I couldn’t really imagine myself just sitting still and just doing nothing.
Turns out it’s not really doing nothing or even sitting still. Common misconception, but you can actually move your body while meditating as the most important thing is to be comfortable.
I realised that meditation actually comes with a whole slew of benefits such as:
- Being more self-aware of yourself and your surrounds
- Helps you manage stress a lot better and gain new perspectives in stressful situation
- Controls Anxiety
- Increases your attention span and being more focused
- Fight addiction
- Improve sleep
- Decreases Blood Pressure
And the list doesn’t end there!
Considering how most of us are living very fast paced lives, meditation is a great way to slow it down at times and practice the art of being in the moment.
One powerful thing is that meditation helps you to train your brain, and it can actually change your brain structure.
If you’re considering picking up and trying meditation, I would recommend the balance app as they’re giving out the premium version of the app for free for 2021 at least to help people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plus the app is super customised to your responses and helps you build up habits while meditating that can improve your overall life as well too.
This is something that our body does so automatically without us even realising it.
Just like meditation, breathing is a good way for us to be more present and be aware of the moment.
It is also a great way to reduce stress at times, especially when you perform the box breathing technique.
The box breathing method is something that is used by the Navy SEALs to help themselves especially in stressful situations.
It is a simple technique that anyone can do anywhere, and you can just check out the video below to see how to actually perform it:
Personally, I found this to be a great way to feel more alert during the day especially when you’re tired and feel drained.
Taking just a couple of minutes to focus on your breath is vital to keep yourself going from the start to the end of the day!
Pro tip: Most smart watches have a breathe app, you can use those to do breathing exercises too. There’s a reason why it’s there!
Taking A Break Every 60 – 90 Minutes
This is something that I picked up from one of my mentors that helped me quite a lot as well.
For most of us, we usually wake up then go to school or work. We then proceed to grind for the next 8 to 10 hours on average, only stopping for our lunch breaks.
The result of this usually is feeling very drained by the time you’re in the middle of the day or at the end of the day.
Then you’ll feel like this:
Repeating this cycle over and over again will take a toll on your health pretty quickly as well too. Plus, this also lead to burnout very quickly because it is not sustainable
Practicing the habit of taking a break every 60 to 90 minutes of work not only helps you recharge, it actually can boost your study/work productivity plus provide a whole slew of benefits.
Every 60 to 90 minutes of work time, you can take 10 to 15 minutes and let your mind relax. This means no scrolling social media as it still keeps your mind active.
What you can do is:
- Meditate and set your intention for your 60 – 90 mins of work (see point 1)
- Perform box breathing (see point 2)
- Do a quick exercise (2 – 3 minutes). Even stretching counts!
- Take a cold shower. These are some benefits for taking a cold shower.
- Take a quick nap
Personally for me, it’s these periods where I get new ideas when I’m stuck on a certain thing for a long time.
If you’re at a workplace, doing these things may be difficult without looking awkward. A big tip would be to use this opportunity for a toilet break or find a quiet spot in the office to do it.
This is something that most people don’t do because it may seem unnecessary.
However, journaling is a powerful way that can actually change your life for the better if you practice it in the long term.
It also helps you consolidate and pen down your thoughts, and may even lead to new ideas and breakthroughs that you may have been trying to find:
You can choose to do it either in the morning, in the night, or both. You can always start out by penning down your thoughts, your ideas and how you feel throughout the day.
If you want something more detailed, here’s a quick template that I use and I answer these questions to pen down my thoughts in a more consistent manner.
- What did I dream?
- Three things I am grateful for
- Looking forward to
- What under my control would make today even more great
- Idea for Experiment to Run
- If I lived even more consciously, freely, and courageously I would:
- I am
- Most Important Thing to Focus On
- Three Wins
- One thing I learned (Is it a Breakthrough Idea?)
- One thing I could have done to make today better and how can I apply it tomorrow? Something I could have said better?
- Am I resisting something?
- Favorite thing of my day?
- Short story of a moment today:
- Experiment/hypothesis from today?
- What could I do tomorrow that is High Leverage? High/boundless upside, low downside.
- Request for subconscious mind to sleep on:
Social Media Detox
Social Media was made to improve our lives and help us feel connected to people more, but ironically the opposite seems more true.
The biggest flaw most of us have is how we tend to compare ourselves to other people, and most people only post their success stories and the things they want other people to see.
This can create a lot of stress unintentionally if you’re browsing Social Media too much.
Of course, I’m not saying don’t browse Social Media but to take some time off if you can. That could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to even a few months.
You can start by being more intentional when scrolling your Social Media feed. Personally, I always found myself scrolling my Facebook feed as my default choice whenever I feel bored.
If you know what you are doing, you can stop it fast so you don’t waste hours of your time scrolling your feed.
Reducing your time exposed to Social Media will also help you gain those benefits in the article I listed, and also help reduce stress too.
Plus, you actually save a lot of time. Trust me because I always found more time after doing a social media detox every once in a while!
Turning off Notifications
This was actually a very small thing I did which has had one of the biggest impacts in my life so far.
One of my mentors taught me that we should be the boss of our mobile phones, and not the other way around.
Notifications are the fastest way to steal your time and attention, then get you to do things unconsciously because you just want to swipe open that notification.
It just becomes a very big distraction and time stealer in the long run.
In today’s world, your attention is one of the biggest assets you have. Businesses like social media companies are trying to monetise it through things like advertisements.
I found an article here that mentioned the benefits of turning off the notification, and I fully resonate with it.
I stopped being more reactive and more proactive.
I became more in control of my phone time.
I learned to be more patient.
Most importantly of all, if something is very urgent, someone will call you instead of messaging.
I personally turn off most of my notifications, especially for my social media and my chat groups. I leave important ones on like any 1 to 1 messaging, my work apps and chats, bank/financial apps, and Grab/foodpanda.
Everything else… I turned it off. I remember the first day waking up to 0 notifications felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders.
It’s really the little thing that counts!
We all live in a very busy world today where everything moves very quickly.
Without any time to slow down or take a break, feeling stressed or anxious becomes a very common issue among most people.Taking the time to actually stop can be very difficult, but hopefully these tips will help you get started somewhere.
If everything here may seem overwhelming for you and you need to pick one to start with, I would say to start with meditating or with box breathing first.
These are just very quick things that you can get done within 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll start to see an improvement if you practice the habits on a daily basis.
Most importantly, do take time to take care of your mental wellbeing as I feel it is very crucial during this COVID-19 period.
Take care of yourself, and be well.
Terence is a freelancer who does many things including writing for blogs, investing, digital marketing, and helping out his family business.
He has been a big Circles.Life fan ever since joining the network in 2016 and has helped write for the Circles.Life blog ever since the launch. He hopes to inspire and help other people make better lifestyle choices, and help them improve their quality of their lifestyle as a result (sometimes even while saving money!).