It’s a funny thing...the times we would benefit the most from practicing mindfulness tend to be the times when it’s hardest to do so.
Think about it—when you’re stuck in traffic, you might be more focused on huffing and puffing about the driver who just cut you off than you are on grounding yourself and bringing yourself back to the present moment. Or if you’re dealing with a frustrating client, the last thing you might feel like doing is reminding yourself to practice mindfulness.
While there’s never a bad time to be mindful, it’s often in these high-stress, heavy pressure situations when we need it the most. Naturally, when we have downtime, it can make the most sense to focus on being mindful. It’s also easier to do so in these moments.
And the great thing is, the more you practice mindfulness, the more natural this practice becomes. So, even when you are racing to a meeting and you have a million and one things on your plate, being mindful can become your natural reaction. Rather than constantly reminding yourself to breathe, be mindful, and be present, this will begin to become your natural state.
Until then, you’ll need to focus on channeling this energy and building this habit. And if you can learn to do this even when you’re overwhelmed, you’ll begin to reap the biggest rewards from being mindful.
With all of that in mind, here’s how to practice mindfulness, even in the most stressful situations.
Achieving a constant state of mindfulness is almost impossible...especially in today’s busy world. So be patient with yourself and start small. In particularly stressful moments, don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not feeling particularly mindful. Instead, focus on working on one element of mindfulness.
For example, your breath. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take five deep breaths. This is a small step toward becoming more mindful, and it’s something you can do no matter what’s going on around you.
When the world is flying by at a millions mile an hour, it’s harder than ever to remember to practice mindfulness. But you can set yourself up for success by placing reminders for yourself to do so! One example would be adding a sticky note to your computer that simply says “Be Mindful.” Alternatively, you can also choose a symbol or item you associate with mindfulness. Then, in stressful times, the sight of this item can help bring you back down to earth.
(Don’t miss this post with three grounding techniques for stressful situations)
Remember what I said about practicing mindfulness and how the more you do it, the more natural it becomes? Another way to set yourself up for success is scheduling time for mindfulness each day. Eventually, it can begin to be so natural there’s no reason to schedule it in—it just happens. But until then, set aside at least five minutes each day to focus on bringing your mind back to the present state. Focus on how you feel and what you experience in each moment, rather than focusing on what has happened or what’s going to happen.
This is also a great time to implement breathing practices into your daily routine. Here are some of my favourites to get you started!
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