With the new semester up and running it can be a challenging time to carve out some time for yourself every day and practice mindfulness. Old habits can come back and as a result, you might fall off the path you set out for yourself at the start of the year, having a focus on being more mindful every day. We’ve put together a few useful tips you can practice each day that can help you get back on track.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can have some terrific benefits, here are some scientifically proven ones:
- It Reduces Anxiety
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) May Prevent And Treat Depression
- Increase Body Satisfaction
- Mindfulness Meditation Improves Cognition
- Helps The Brain Reduce Distractions
So you can see that if we practice it on a daily basis and make it a routine it can have some huge benefits for our mental health. The question is, how can we do so daily? Here are some useful tips.
Morning Time – Eat Slowly and Mindfully
How often are you in a rush out the door and eat as quickly as possible. Set aside some time and take the time to truly experience your meal, rather than eating too quickly. The food you eat is the information you choose to give to your body about your environment. As a result, your body will respond in different ways to what you eat. What should you try? Here are some useful ideas:
- Eat natural food
- Avoid processed food, simple carbohydrates
- Don’t eat large portions.
- Try anti-oxidant rich foods such as blueberries, a modest amount of caffeine (you don’t have to avoid coffee!!)
Later on, in the day have some dark chocolate
After lunch – Set a Reminder on your Phone to Bring you Back into the Present
This could be a bell on your phone. This can gently bring you back into the present (depending on the tone of curse!!). Just set a simple reminder bell or alert on your phone. It is a smart and effective way to interrupt yourself mid-flow, as very often after lunch is when we can go into a lull, get distracted and start scrolling through Instagram. Think of the ball as the right kind of digital distraction.
On the Way Home – Find an Anchor
The commute home can become dull, especially if there’s a lot of traffic. Instead, use this time to practise the art of presence using ‘anchors’. In meditation, these kind of anchors would include using your breath and your body to return your attention to where it needs to be.
The anchor helps to overcome the distractions of the mind and will guide you back when your mind wanders off. It’s a simple yet effective concept used by novice and seasoned meditators alike.
When at Home in the Evenings – Put your Phone on Airplane or Silent Mode.
This is a really useful tip try. If you don’t want it on airplane putting it on total silence can be a great way to switch off and avoid being distracted by every notification on your phone. This especially works if you are seeing a friend or spending time with your family.
Bedtime – Go Slow Beforehand
Your body and mind naturally start to unwind and go slower at this time. Mindfulness centres on paying attention to the moment and this can be a good time to practise presence. The trick here is simple, to do less, with more intention. At this time let the techniques of the day naturally and subconsciously feed into your bedtime routine. This can be something as small as brushing your teeth with bodily awareness.
Why not try out the Mindfulness Tree
This concept is something our very own lecturer Christine Beekman discussed as part of mental health week. If you want to learn more check out the blog.
Best of luck everything this semester and we hope these tips help when it comes to practicing mindfulness daily.