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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

20 Simple Things You Can Do Daily To Become a Mindful Person

20 Simple Things You Can Do Daily To Become a Mindful Person

The world we are living in today has taken away our ability to truly appreciate the little things that we should be thankful for. Mindfulness helps us see the little things that we have unconsciously neglected due to the hectic daily routines and busy schedule in our lives. Being mindful not only helps us become a calmer individual, but also saves us from a lot of trouble. It helps us be more productive without making the unnecessary errors. Often, we make bad decisions or mistakes because we weren’t mindful enough to notice the subtle things that are happening around us. However, if we practice mindfulness, we will gradually become more aware of the things that are happening around us. We also better understand our own emotions and our physical state, which lead us to a healthier and happier life.

Here are 20 simple things you can do every day to become a more mindful person:

1. Observe your breathing.

Take a few second of your day to observe your breathing. Take a longer inhale than you usually do, and then take a longer exhale than you usually do. We often act based on our emotions, where it gets us into unwanted outcome. This practice will help you to calm yourself down during those situations, while observing your physical and emotional state.

2. Look at yourself in the mirror.

Looking yourself in the mirror helps you observe your own facial expression. You can see how you look when you smile or when you frown, even when you are feeling angry. This will help you better adjust to your reaction towards others when you are dealing with them.

3. Savor every bite while you eat.

Focus on chewing while eating. Put your devices aside, and turn off the television. Enjoy every bite of your meal. This will not only help with your digestive system, but also help you practice focusing on your current action and appreciating the food you are eating.

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4. Listen to soothing music.

Turn on relaxing and soothing melody and really listen to it. Lay down or sit in the most comfortable position, close your eyes and feel the music in your soul. Soothing melody will help you clear your mind and thoughts after a busy or stressful day.

5. Read a book.

Reading takes a lot of your focus. Reading not only gives you useful knowledge, but also helps you form a focused meditation. While you are going through every word, you are practicing mindfulness at the same time.

6. Go for a walk.

Our legs are our unsung heroes that take us to and fro, day in and day out, throughout our lives. Going for a walk gives you the opportunity to show gratitude to your legs as well as your entire body, while appreciating the things around you. You also get a clearer mind after a good long walk.

7. Organize something at work or home.

Having your home or workplace in disarray can cause anxiety and stress. Getting organized is a simple way to reduce your stress and improve the quality of your life. While you are picking up bits and pieces of objects during the process, you are also practicing mindfulness when you consciously observe each placement of the object while organizing them.

8. Write a journal.

Research shows that people who practice writing in a journal reap physical and emotional benefits. They also raise their potential to increase their longevity. Sharing your thoughts in your journal helps you reduce the amount of worry and depressive symptoms. You clarify your thoughts and emotions when you express them in writing, and that helps you better understand yourself at a deeper level.

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9. Cook yourself a meal.

The aromatic scents of cooking have beneficial effects to your mood. The process of cooking, like chopping vegetables; for example, can actually take the edge off a stressful day. Cooking gives you a sense of calmness while also providing an important health measure.

10. Set small daily goals.

Breaking down your goals into smaller ones helps you be more specific to what you aim to achieve on a daily basis. It can be as simple as taking your dog for a walk or cleaning up your house. Take the time to acknowledge yourself for each goal that has been accomplished, and for doing something meaningful for yourself.

11. Observe the people around you.

Taking the time to observe the people around you helps you notice things that seemed oblivious before. You get an idea of the variety of perspectives, raising your awareness by releasing the norms and values from different people. This also gives you an eye-opening experience, helping you better learn the quality of mindfulness.

12. Help someone.

Research suggests that human beings who live for others lead incredibly successful lives, and show lower rates of depression and stress. A simple gesture like helping your family with chores or helping an elderly cross the road can do wonders. By doing someone a small favor, you increase positive feelings toward yourself while making their life a little better. This gives you a mindful awareness of a purposeful life.

13. Let loose and laugh.

Laughing releases endorphins and brings more oxygen and energy into your body while also improving your immune system. Some of us may need the assistance of entertainment to laugh, but really you can find humor in every little thing in life. Just try laughing for the sake of laughing and you will realize that you are actually very present during the process. Being present is the key to mindfulness.

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14. Create art.

Engaging in creative work helps you get into a flow state of heightened awareness and consciousness. Creative activities like baking, doodling, or singing help you quiet down your mind and help you focus on the moment, thus improving your practice of mindfulness.

15. Turn off your devices.

Every once in a while, turn off your devices and engage with the natural world around you. Have a proper conversation with the people around you. This helps you put yourself under the right condition while you freshen up before proceeding with the endless task on your to-do list. You will find yourself much more productive after the simple break and refreshing yourself with this tip.

16. Meditate.

Enjoy the silence after the endless distraction from the people and things around you. Take the time to put down all the things that you are working on, sit down in a comfortable position, and observe your entire body. Focus on feeling each part of your body functioning while clearing away the stress that you obtain throughout the day.

17. Exercise.

When you exercise, you focus your attention on your sensations, breathing, and the movements of your body. This helps you let go of distractions and your endless thoughts while developing a healthy loving relationship with your body. You learn to listen to the needs of your body and to focus on current events.

18. Write sticky notes.

Jotting down your thoughts in a few words is an incredible way to train mindfulness. Simply write down things that you want to remind yourself to remember and stick them around your house or your desk at work. You can jot down “smile” or “be mindful” to remind yourself to do the simple gesture you normally get distracted from.

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19. Take a long bath.

A soothing hot bath relaxes your tired muscles and provides you with a relaxing atmosphere, allowing you the temporary feeling of escape from your daily activities. It helps your breathing become slower and deeper, allowing you to stay in the present moment.

20. Give a genuine compliment.

Give someone you know a genuine compliment at lease once a day, and be specific with it. For example, you could tell them something like, “I appreciate the way you smiled generously at that stranger earlier today”. This practice of noticing what people around you do well and giving genuine compliments adds new warmth, intimacy, and responsiveness to your relationship with them. It helps you realize the beauty of the people you love. You show  them appreciation when you take the time to truly observe them mindfully.

Featured photo credit: Aperture Vintage via unsplash.com

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Crystie Lim

Life Coach

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Published on March 2, 2021

How To Not Stress: 10 Stress Management Techniques

How To Not Stress: 10 Stress Management Techniques

It is not easy to decipher how to not stress, as stress is a part of life. Stress is the wear and tear of our mental and physical being as we continue to find soothing ways to cope with the constant change in our surroundings.

People often think of stress as related to work, chores at home, illnesses, and trying to beat rush hour traffic—which is not wrong—but it is more. Several factors trigger stress, but stress is the body’s internal reaction to fight or take flight in the presence of adversity.

In simple biological terms, stress is the state of increased arousal necessary for the human body to defend itself from a clear and present danger. Whenever we feel anxious, angered, tired, frightened, happy, excited, sad, or afraid, we are undergoing stress.

From minor challenges to major issues, stress is an acceptable and unavoidable pressure of human life. Stress is normal until we are incapable of controlling and coping with the overwhelming effect that stress becomes a problem.

Three in every four adults American suffer from stress—that is about 77 percent of the population.[1] Stress is triggered by anything from the economy, jobs, home front, kids, illnesses, and so on.

Types of Stress

In learning how not to stress, you must understand the types of stress and how you encourage it in your life. The causes of stress (stressors) are varied and multiple, but I am grouping them into two sectors.

External Stressors

These are external triggers that affect your immediate ability to stay focused or composed. They are:

  • Physical environment – confined spaces, light, noise, heat, brightness, and even darkness
  • Organizational – rules, regulation, deadlines, office gossips, pressure from work, etc
  • Social interaction – bullying, bossiness, disregard, harassment, aggressiveness (general human behavior towards you)
  • Life crises – death, relocation, new baby, marriage, losing your job, divorce, etc
  • Daily hassles – late in catching the bus, misplacing your car/house keys, mechanical breakdown, etc

Internal Stressors

These are stressors that emanate from our thoughts, mindset, and attitude. For example:

  • Your lifestyle – not getting enough sleep, busy schedules, caffeine or alcohol
  • Negative thoughts – pessimism, self-criticism, overthinking, feeling incapable.
  • Mind traps – being too personal about issues, unrealistic expectations, exaggerated or rigid mindset, etc
  • Personality traits – workaholic, OCD, perfectionist, etc

These factors contribute heavily to mental and physical stress leading to fear, anger, unforgiveness, and depression.

Stress and You

To consider stress as an ailment of modernity and technology is misinforming. Yes, our fast-paced lives and lifestyle are stressful, straining, and under relentless pressure. But we have actually created these triggers on our own. This is due to a desire for intense competitiveness and to match up with our peers. Stress is different for every individual, even if they are in the same situation.

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For example, a couple going through a bitter divorce will see the man enjoying himself while the lady suffers from bouts of emotional ups and downs. What is distressing to you may be nothing to another.

Take this example: a man works effectively in the comfort of his home yet finds working in a team or office stressful and overwhelming.

It is necessary to know that most of the stresses we experience are self-generated and self-induced. How we perceive (life)—whether a situation is threatening, sad, or happy—depends on how we see ourselves. The ability to recognize the stresses we create is the first step toward preventing stress.

Symptoms of Stress

Excessive, prolonging, and denying the existent of stress in our lives is detrimental and affects our entirety—and if left unresolved, results in a feeling of fear, anger, frustration, and depression.

Stress contributes to simple illnesses like headaches, skin diseases, ulcers, insomnia, and digestive problems. In severe cases, stress can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. The following are the symptoms of stress grouped into four categories.

Physical Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Change in sleep pattern without any obvious reason
  • Unstable digestive system resulting in diarrhea and inability to hold down food
  • Low sexual libido
  • Headaches and body pain
  • Dizziness, unnecessary sweating, and feeling faint
  • Palpitations, breathlessness, quickened heartbeats, or missed heartbeats

Mental Symptoms

  • Inability to focus
  • Memory lapses
  • Indecisiveness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Fear/panic attack

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Eating disorder and appetite
  • Increase smoking and alcohol intake
  • Restlessness, fidgeting, and nail-biting

Emotional Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Easily irritated
  • Anger, rage, cry easily
  • Deterioration in hygiene habit and appearance

The primary triggers of stress are lack of financial stability, job security, family responsibility, personal relationship, health issues, and safety. Now that we have successfully categorized stress, it is time to recognize the one you are suffering from and choose a simple technique to manage it.

Remember, stress can be controlled, allowing you to live a fulfilling life.

10 Stress Management Techniques

The most common stress management techniques are eating right, exercise, yoga, and meditation. However, some stress is beyond these four techniques, so we will try to list out as many as possible to help you beat that stressful situation.

A set of simple yet effective techniques to help individuals identify, understand, and effectively deal with the stress in their lives to minimize the impact.

1. Change the Perspective

How many times have you replayed a negative situation and outcome in your head that never happens? We are all human, and as crazy as it sounds, negativity is appealing and more creative than positive things. However, stress is tied to negativity and our inability to break free from them.

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Changing your perspective is not as simple as ABC. However, you can start by analyzing the feeling, removing all exaggerated parts, pick out the truth (be honest here) and discard the rest. Phew, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Now, take the truth and work on it from a positive angle. You will immediately feel less stressed, disoriented, and angered. It will take some time, but never judge an issue from an exaggerated point of view.

2. Create a Journal

A problem shared is half solved. While we cannot all go about blabbing our predicaments to others, an effective way of sharing and solving is journaling. There is really nothing difficult about journaling—it is just you writing the day’s events and how they made you feel.

Stress takes clarity, focus, and awareness of our immediate environment from us. Well, journaling restores them back to you. When you write down your feelings, you can identify, understand and deal with them better than replaying them in your head. It allows you to separate your feelings, accurately define emotion connect with your internal aura for better clarity.

3. Mindful Breathing

Stress takes peace and stability away from your life. Breathing is held in high regard by Buddhists, Hindus, and Taoists who believe breathing is a system of reintroducing peace into a troubled soul.

Mindful breathing is breathing that comes from the pit of your belly. It is, deep consistent, and stress relieving breathes which calm you down.

Mindful breathing can be done anyway in two easy steps:

  • Gentle inhale air to fill your lungs and stomach while slowly counting to 3 or five through your nose
  • Hold for a second or two and gradually exhale while counting 1 through 5

Repeat this as many times as possible until you feel your power returning to you. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out the stressors and tension.

4. Positive and Guided Daydreaming

We all daydream—some are good, and others run wild with our imagination. Using guided images and thoughts, you can avert a stress situation from escalating.

For example, you just had a heated argument with your spouse on the phone, and you are at work. Two things can happen: have your mood down all day, or you can identify the stress and calm dissipate it with happier images—daydreaming.

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Close your eyes and imagine a happy memory. Use good thoughts to counteract negative ones ad build your confidence from deep within. Also, forgive the situation and yourself, else you will keep playing the thought in your mind.

5. Go Back to Your To-Do List

If you cannot complete the chores, let it be. Remember that trying to squeeze in more than you can handle is actually killing you gradually. Even superman rests once in a while, so you should, too.

Reducing or prioritizing your workload could be the solution to the constant headaches, backaches, and shoulders. If you are a mom, learn to delegate duties to your kids or allocate time to work for yourself.

6. Yoga It

Yoga is an Indian form of meditation that combines simple poses, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to ward off stress and stressors. Yoga is an effective stress relief technique because it deals with the physical, emotional, and mental organs that stress hacks into. The immediate benefits of yoga are felt immediately, but the long-term impact is also beautiful.

To get started, you can follow simple yoga programs online or enroll in a class to help you to master the poses at your own pace. Yoga enables you to breathe easily, improves the clarity of thoughts and mind, relaxes the body and mental health. However, if the twist and turns of yoga are not for you, then you will enjoy the next technique.

7. Add Exercise to Your Routine

Our body is like a car engine, if you do not maintain it, it will crash when you need it most. Regular exercise builds a strong body, no doubt. However, it also builds a strong mind to deal with stresses that affect us daily. You do not have to HIIT or do any strenuous exercise, choose something simple and for 7 to 15 minutes every day.

Joining a gym or community fitness center is outstanding, but you can choose to walk, run, jog, swim or go dancing. The idea is to keep your body moving for fun. Furthermore, if you are the outdoorsy type, indulge in your passion and watch the stress melt away.

8. Massage and Detox Therapy

When your insides are unclean, it can lead to stress. Equally, tired and over-working can double the stress effect leading to illness and mental breakdown.

There are many reasons to go for a massage, and stress is one of them. Massages are an ideal tool for maintaining physical and emotional health. While detoxification is a way to relieve the stress on your internal organs, both will make you feel light and relaxed.

9. Imbibe in the Power of Positive Affirmations

The power of positive talk has proven to increases positive emotion, compassion, and confidence in the speaker. How we treat ourselves determines the outcome. If you begin the day with negativity, you are likely to attract negativity and problems to yourself.

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However, if you take your time to affirm positive thoughts in your life, you will succeed. Affirmations are more than mere words; they are meant to awaken the optimistic and daring part of your being.

So, when you feel that negative emotions are building up or images are flashing before your eyes, take a moment and remind yourself of your capabilities and believe it, too. What you perceive is what you are.

10. Getting Enough Sleep

Let’s be honest, it is almost impossible to get 8 hours of sleep as recommended, but you can get a good night’s sleep instead. Many people sleep for 8 hours or more but are restless in their sleep and wake up feeling exhausted, drained, and stressed.

Sleep is a fundamental way for the body to recuperate for the day’s activities. However, your sleeping condition should be prioritized for relaxing sleep. To do this, ensure your mattress is comfortable and your bedroom is at the right temperature.

If you cannot get 8 hours at night, try to nap in the afternoons and watch your diet before bed. Finally, create a sleep routine. You do not have to “do-or-die” it, but gradually ease your way into better sleep.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, stress is the baggage you refuse to let go of. The more you pile on, the deeper you are sinking into a place of darkness.

Let go of the excess load now. Start by following these stress management techniques on how not to stress. Do you have one or two methods you are currently using to relieve stress? Feel free to add them to the list.

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Featured photo credit: whoislimos via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: Stress in America™ 2020

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