Though life is often chaotic—between work, family, social commitments and everyday chores—taking time out for your mental health is crucial.
According to author and certified Mind-Body Health Educator for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, Mary Beth Janssen, the benefits of incorporating mindfulness into your daily life are numerous, and include staving off stress-related health problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, as well as cognitive decline, and has been shown to ease anxiety, PTSD, depression, chronic pain, sleep problems and more.
“Mindfulness is the practice of observing your mind—the decision to be more present, to show up for life,” says Felix Lopez, the author of Mindfulness: The Alchemy of Now (Merry Dissonance Press). “It is the choice to be your own research subject; to own the experiment of life, with you at the center of your study. It is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment.”
Mindfulness can be achieved in small moments throughout the day, and Lopez recommends the following four ways to practice mindfulness everyday:
Observe and appreciate your food every time you sit down for a meal. Indulge in the sensory experience eating brings, and eat slowly to preserve each and every flavor and component of the event.
Observe Your Breath
Focusing on the breath is an easy way to bring awareness into your daily routine. For those who have trouble meditating, using your breath as barometer for creating a calm and present mind.
Your body is amazing. Show your gratitude by exercising and keeping your body flexible and moving; focus on improving your posture and engaging your core daily to practice mindful moving.
Observe Your Thoughts and Emotions
Acknowledge your daily thoughts and feelings as valid. Keeping a journal or diary may help you organize and rationalize your physical and mental responses, and set your mind at ease.
“Mindfulness requires a sense of openness—a decision to be receptive and accept that perhaps there is more to learn in life, to accept that you do not have everything figured out,” says Lopez. “Mindfulness takes risks to question everything you’ve ever known, to challenge your status quo, and to let go of always being right.”