What is Mindfulness?
You know when you arrive home after driving, and think “I can’t remember anything about that trip”, or “Where did the time go”. Well, that is the exact opposite of being mindful! Mindfulness is about being present. Mindfulness techniques help you focus, manage time, stress and anxiety.
You know that feeling – when you’re at work, you’re thinking about the kids and home, and when you’re at home you’re thinking about work! It’s a relentless, exhausting treadmill, where days roll into each other, and you’re just trying to keep it all together. This is where mindfulness becomes the perfect way to manage stress and slow it down, because you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Top 5 Mindfulness Techniques
1. When you’re travelling to and from work, split the time in two and try this formula:
First half of the trip: Focus on what you have just finished. If it’s the morning, focus on your family, how your morning went, the child care/school drop off etc. If it’s the afternoon/ evening, focus on what you achieved, things you need to do tomorrow, conversations you had.
Second half of the trip: Focus on what you are driving to. So, morning would be focusing on work – what you need to do for the day, meetings, and your intention for the day. On the way home, focus the second half on your family, how you want to spend time with them, what you need to do, and your intention for interacting and nurturing your children that evening.
By splitting it, you can use the space in the middle to centre yourself again and deal with or note down any issues you have to deal with, and to prepare yourself for what’s coming. This leaves you more focused at work and present at home.
2. Set boundaries around your screen time – for everyone in the family. Phones, tablets, TV, PC’s, game consoles can drain time and energy. Set boundaries around meal times, sleeping habits, homework and coming home times, so that you can all chat, say hello and catch up on news and the day.
3. Breathe when you can. I mean deeply! Take every opportunity to take a few deep breaths. If you’re standing in a queue, waiting in a lift, driving in traffic, or just waking up, fill your lungs and take some deep breaths. It is a beautiful reminder to slow down, care for yourself, and re-energise. (FYI – 5 breaths is great, 10 is even better!)
4. Get to know your stress triggers. What do you do when you feel stressed? What do you notice? Heart racing, snapping at people, mind whirling, not sleeping? List your top 3, and when you notice them, take time out, ask for help or take a step back and regain clarity and focus.
5. Use a meditation app to slow down and calm down. Just a few minutes of guided meditation, or more if you can, will help manage stress and anxiety. Allow it to create a peacefulness within you – an inner strength. This mindfulness technique is perfect for slowing down. It’s this inner peace and slower pace that allows you to leave that sense of ‘busyness’ and rush behind.
Mindfulness techniques don’t make you achieve less – in fact it gives you more focus and clarity you will be surprised at just how productive you can be.