It's no secret that for many of us, modern life is fast-paced and often competitive, there’s daily pressure to succeed and all of this can add up everyday stress. But in this deadline-to-deadline age, practicing a little mindfulness can help go a long way to protect your mental health.
What is mindfulness? It is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of our present thoughts and environment, and not overreact or be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
However, mindfulness isn't an exotic or obscure idea. It is something you can already do. All you need to do is give yourself opportunities to pause, reel back in and gain back control over your mental well-being. Here are a few daily habits that can help you be more mindful without going out of your way.
- Eat, Sleep, Exercise
A healthy body makes a healthy mind. Sometimes we tend to neglect our fitness due to tight schedules and trying to pack so much into each day. By having a balanced diet, 6-8 hours of regular sleep and at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, you get the chance to nourish yourself, get away from the rut and be aware of your thoughts.
Exercise also releases stress-busting and mood-boosting endorphins, while the right diet and sleep helps your body repair itself.
Many of us spend time on our devices, scrolling through social media on a daily basis, and this can have a negative impact if you’re investing too much time in it. People often use social media to show their best selves, having the best times, enjoying exotic travel and fun lifestyle experiences. This can cause a “comparison-complex” where we link their best, with our everyday lives, which may not seem as colorful.
By curbing your daily social media usage, you can focus more on your own health and happiness without drawing comparisons.
While too much social media can be bad for you, socializing and enjoying a catch-up with your friends and family can be really beneficial. Being around people who know and love you, balances the pressure of feeling you have to proving yourself in other areas of your life. This helps refuel your levels of confidence and self-contentment, and generally helps you be at peace with your own thoughts.
- Set realistic goals
It’s human tendency to have ambitions and to strive towards them. Aim high, dream big, but also be realistic. Don’t overwhelm yourself with tasks. Break down your goal into smaller, manageable steps on a daily basis. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you gradually progress.
- Take a break
When it all just seems too much, step away for a moment. Do anything but what’s stressing you out until you feel a bit better. Taking a short walk or meditating for a bit can help you mull-over, and gradually see things more clearly.
For a quick-fix, you can try this simple breathing exercise:
Close your eyes and take ten deep breaths. For each one count to four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four, and then exhale for another four. This works wonders almost immediately.
Taking care of yourself can be as easy implementing a few changes in your daily schedule. Yet, there may be times when these tips may not be enough. In that case, remember that:
It’s okay to not feel good at times
Sometimes you just can’t manage your emotions and thoughts. And that’s fine. Accepting your state of mind gives you a broader perspective of what’s going on and gives you space to feel normal again.
It’s okay to talk about how you feel
You are not alone. It may be tough at first, but sharing things with your family, friends or colleagues will definitely help take some weight off your mind. If you wish, don’t hesitate to get your doctor involved who can offer you the right counsel.