Pay attention to activities you do everyday. This is a great starting point. Pick an activity you do everyday, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Then, get in the habit of truly paying attention to what you’re doing. When your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to the feel of your toothbrush on your teeth, the sensation of washing your hair, etc.
Set aside some time and space. You don’t need a special mat or equipment, but you do need a peaceful, quiet area (if only for a few minutes!). You also need to allow yourself some time (again, if only for a few minutes!). Some people set a reminder on their phone to take breaks throughout the day.
Pay attention to your breathing. Breathing is a key mindfulness practice. It’s something we do naturally and it’s a good way to bring our awareness back to the present moment. Just taking three or four deep breaths while paying attention to them can help you calm down and improve focus.
Ground yourself physically. Sometimes concentrating on your breathing isn’t enough. In that case, concentrate on how the chair or floor feels under your body. Or put your hands on a table and notice how the surface feels. Other people enjoy running their fingers across an object like a stone. Any of these types of actions bring awareness of the present.
We are all dealing with different stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, work responsibilities are greater right now and it’s difficult to juggle professional and personal duties. For others, work has slowed down or stopped and the anxiety of remaining productive and dealing with uncertainty can feel paralyzing. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so by practicing mindfulness, you’re reducing your background level of stress. And who doesn’t need a little of that right now?
Mindfulness takes practice, but the effort is well worth the reward! Leah M Joppy and Associates has been conducting webinars focusing on strategies we can all use to get through these challenging times. We can tailor a webinar that focuses on mindfulness practices, stress reduction and more. How can we help you? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.