We all get anxious from time to time. It’s a natural human emotion that helps us prepare for danger. The problem is when anxiety becomes chronic and starts to affect our daily lives, we may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Often the best tool to overcome anxiety is to learn how to stay present. How can we learn to stay present? By embracing mindfulness. In this article, we will talk about 8 life-changing mindfulness exercises that you can easily do anywhere, anytime!
So if you have been feeling a lot of anxiety lately and it’s affecting your life in negative ways, then this article should be helpful!
When we are feeling anxious, our focus is often on the past and future instead of the present moment. And it often causes people to obsess over the future, which becomes counterproductive. So, how do you learn to focus on the present instead of worrying about the future? By practicing mindfulness.
A simple definition of mindfulness is the choice to pay attention. It’s about being in tune with your surroundings and learning how to stay present. Practicing mindfulness will allow you to become more aware of what is happening around you. Mindfulness helps people regulate their emotions because it makes them conscious of their own thoughts & feelings as well as those of others. Mindfulness exercises help you to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future so that we can learn how to be fully present in each moment, developing qualities like calmness, clarity or compassion.
Eight mindful exercises to keep you in the present moment are listed below:
Try doing things in a different order
For example, go to the grocery store in reverse. Start with aisle twelve instead of one, and see how that feels as you shop. Another example, if you usually brush your teeth in the shower, brush your teeth before you take a shower. This will help you to stay more present because it requires a lot of focus and coordination.
Use Non-Dominant Hand
If you are right-handed, try writing with your left hand or use the mouse with your left hand. Similarly, if you are a leftie, try writing using your right hand or brushing your hair from top to bottom (if possible). You will notice how your handwriting suddenly becomes preschool-ish, and you have to focus on making your letters look correct.
Reorganize Your Dishes
Some of the examples are: Put your dishes away in a different order. Reorganize them by color, shapes or meals. Stack all your cups on top of the plates. Stack all the bowls together with spoons inside (or in a different order). This will force you to stay present because it requires coordination and focus.
Embrace mindfulness by paying attention to every aspect of walking
Most people don’t usually pay attention to how they walk. It’s almost automatic, but we can practice mindfulness by trying a walking meditation . When you do this exercise, try being aware of each and every step that you take one at a time. Notice the sensation where your foot makes contact with the ground first as well as when it leaves the ground. Notice your heel hitting the floor, and then rolling through to the ball of your foot and pushing off with each step. Also notice every sensation, sight and sound.
Making a conscious effort to change up your daily routine can help you stay present.
Regularly change up your daily routine. For example, you can do the dishes in a different order every day or brush your teeth at a different time of day. When we vary our routines it helps us get out of autopilot mode and brings awareness to what is happening around us.
Practice The A-Z Game
Spot all the letters of the alphabet or numbers in order while you walk. You can also try a similar process with numbers. Pick a random number and count them in order (either backward or forwards).
Every time you catch yourself doing something out of habit, stop.
Every time you catch yourself doing something automatically, stop and start again. For example, when brushing your teeth, if you notice that your mind has wandered off to the next day’s agenda or what you will have for dinner tonight, just stop! Then begin brushing them again from top to bottom (if possible). You can also try this with getting dressed.
Take A Deep Breath
When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, stop and take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing helps us to get out of autopilot mode because it requires so much focus! Try this exercise now: Breathe in for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and exhale slowly for eight seconds. Then repeat this three more times. Once you have completed the cycle – breathe naturally. Another example is to take a deep breath, hold it, then notice and name 5 things you can see, feel, hear.
All of these exercises are meant to get you out of your typical routine and into the present moment. And when you are truly in the present moment, you stop worrying about the future and let go of the past and you will realize that there is nothing to be anxious about! It is my hope that these exercises will help you feel more at peace and less anxious.
Anxiety and stress levels are skyrocketing, but you don’t have to struggle on your own. If you need additional help – schedule your complimentary session that will give you practical strategies for reducing anxiety naturally. If these techniques sound like they could be helpful in relieving your symptoms of anxiety or chronic stress, click the link below to schedule an appointment today!
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