3 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of non-judgmentally paying attention to the present moment. And if you’re new to mindfulness, you should know it’s BOMB. There is a ton of research showing that mindfulness helps with anxiety, depression, stress, and even chronic pain. (See some of those studies here, here, and here).
Despite how awesome it is, my clients are usually a little wary of mindfulness at first. They worry that they don’t have the time or ability to do it “well.” There are some misconceptions that mindfulness requires a huge time commitment or the ability to “clear your mind.” A few people have even told me that coaches have marketed expensive courses as a necessary first step in learning to develop a mindfulness practice.
Lucky for you, non of that crap is true. Mindfulness is a super versatile skill that requires minimum time. So see below for three of my favorite ways to get started practicing mindfulness!
1. 7/11 Breathing: 7/11 is a breathing exercise in which you attempt to breathe in through your nose for 7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 11 seconds. Try it! It’s harder than you’d think! The timing of your breathe isn’t really that important. The goal is to make your inhales and exhales just long enough that you really have to focus on your breath. If 7/11 is too easy, try 9/13! And if it’s too hard, play around with a shorter pace that’s comfortable for you. Whether you practice 7/11 for 1 minute or 10, you can immediately benefit from this breathing exercise that takes your focus away from your life and aims it at your breathing.
2. Label Your Emotions: how many times have you been going about your day before suddenly realizing that your anxiety is an 8/10? Or that you're completely stressed out? We are SO good at ignoring our feelings. We do it automatically and without even trying. Taking the time to pause and simply label the emotion you’re currently experiencing, (i.e. my emotion is stressed, depressed, lonely, etc.) is an excellent way to learn more about your feelings. I often ask my clients to pause once per hour and label their emotions. If you do it frequently, you’ll start to notice trends in how your mood shifts throughout the day. This exercise takes like 10 seconds to complete, but when done regularly it can really help you stay on top of your feelings.
3. There’s an app for that: There are SO many awesome mindfulness apps. These apps take all the hard work out of practicing mindfulness. There are apps that facilitate breathing exercises, provide guided meditations, and even relaxing audio tracks that will lull you to sleep. Many apps cost a few dollars or offer monthly subscriptions, but most include at least a few free features. So the next time you find yourself absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook, try opening up a mindfulness app and spend a few minutes focusing on the present moment! Here are a few I’ve enjoyed using:
- 5 Minute Escapes
Have you tried any of these mindfulness methods before? If you have, let me know how they work for you! And feel free to suggest your own favorite mindfulness skills in the comments!