Mindfulness is now an industry in itself, with books, courses, and websites dedicated to helping people understand it. There are numerous definitions of mindfulness, but it generally relates to your mental state and how you choose to react to the situations in which you find yourself.
It can be used as a therapeutic technique. By focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, you can reduce the stress involved in the situation and handle any issues more calmly.
If you think it’s all a bit of mumbo jumbo and you don’t have time to be more mindful, try some of these techniques during your daily routine and see if they change your habits.
Dr Addie Wootten is a clinical psychologist and CEO of Smiling Mind. In an interview with Huffington Post Australia, she said, “We all do things every day to maintain our health and hygiene. What you might not know is that we can choose to do these mindfully by slowing down and focusing on exactly what we’re doing.”
So when you are in the shower, slow down and feel the water and warmth on your skin. Listen to the running water, relax and enjoy the time to yourself. Don’t focus on your to-do list for the day. If your mind does wander off and starts to think about work or other tasks, return your focus to what you can feel.
Cooking needn’t be a chore. It can be good for you. Approach it as a mindfulness exercise. Use your senses to enjoy the shapes, fragrances, colours and textures of your ingredients. Play your favourite music and enjoy the experience or how you need to peel or chop certain foods.
Make your chores less boring by bringing an open mind to them. There are very few people who enjoy doing household chores. But the next time you wash the dishes, become aware of the feel of soap suds against your skin, the slipperiness of the soap, or the sound of the water filling the sink. You might find this focus makes you feel it takes less time to wash up, as well as it being less of a chore and more of a relaxation exercise.
Here are some more tips to manage stress.