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10 Mindfulness Practices for Daily Use

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no wonder that so many people are struggling with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. When we’re rushed or overloaded with information, we tend to worry about the future or seek distractions to escape the present moment.

It makes sense then that the antidote to anxiety is mindfulness: the practice of bringing your awareness to the here and now. To your body, to your senses, to the present moment.

Here are 10 easy yet effective practices that are perfect for daily use.

Body Awareness

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One practice that you can do anywhere, even in the middle of a stressful work meeting, is to shift your awareness to your senses. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing, the feeling of your ribcage expanding, or any other sensations in your body.

It’s important to simply observe and not be preoccupied with changing anything or making judgments.

Breathing Exercises

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A powerful yet simple exercise is focusing on your breathing. Make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable position in a quiet place, then breathe in for three seconds, and then exhale for three seconds. Continue this process until you can feel your heartbeat slowing down and your nerves relaxing.

If your mind starts wandering at any point, don’t worry! Just repeat the exercise until you feel at ease again.

Stretching Exercises or Yoga

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Another way to bring your awareness to your body is through gentle stretching, or yoga. You can do this at home in your room, or on a mat in the gym, using the array of instructional videos available online.

It’s worth the benefits – a 2018 study shows that mindfulness can alleviate anxiety, depression, and even chronic pain.

Guided Meditation

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Meditation has countless known benefits. A 2016 study showed “nearly 50% reduction in depressive symptoms after mindfulness meditation training”. From obtaining mental clarity, to full body relaxation, finding inspiration or other purposes, mindfulness can help. There is a wide range of guided meditations at our disposal online, depending on one’s needs.

Guided meditation can involve a combination of techniques, from breathing exercises, to visualization or simple awareness of the body, while being guided step-by-step.

Being Fully Present

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Whereas the previous practices were about stillness and self-awareness, this one encourages us to be fully present in the moment, regardless of our activity. If you’re driving, focus entirely on driving, and don’t worry about your to-do list in the background. If you’re having brunch with your friends, don’t stress about whether you forgot to take out the laundry from the washing machine.

By being fully present, we relieve ourselves of pressure, anxiety and stress, and give ourselves permission to enjoy life, to be human, and be gentle with any mistakes we might make.

Vipassana Meditation Exercises

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Vipassana exercises focus on sitting still and simply observing whatever thoughts come to the mind, without trying to change them or linger on them. Much like watching birds fluttering in the sky, this observer role gives us a sense of freedom, detachment and objectivity, by disconnecting from the immediate emotional turmoil evoked by some thoughts.

Mindful Eating

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A fun way to anchor us into the present moment is through mindful eating. By focusing on our senses – the flavors, the colors and textures of the food – we are able to increase our enjoyment of the meal before us, as well as calm our nerves and find beauty in the present. Additionally, it can teach us to be more attuned to our body’s signals, our hunger or sense of satisfaction, thereby encouraging healthier eating habits.

Mindful Walking

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A mindful walk is a powerful way to restart our mood and mindset: the combination of endorphins from physical activity, the relaxing effect of mindfulness, the vitamin D from sunlight and oxygenation from the walk can snap you out of a mental blockage or anxious mood. It can even help if you’re feeling uninspired. Integrating this practice into your daily routine can do wonders for your mood.

Mindful Gratitude

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Another form of mindfulness is becoming aware of any negative thought spirals we have, and rewiring our focus to the positive aspects of our lives. Gratitude journaling can give us a sense of empowerment and agency. It can remind us that there are many facets to reality, and that we do have the freedom to choose whether we focus on scarcity and pain, or feel gratitude over the blessings we do have in our lives.

Mindful Journaling

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Even if we are not yet in a space to count our blessings, mindful journaling can bring countless benefits. It can boost self-awareness, ease tension, improve mental clarity, and most importantly, bring our awareness to the present by creating a safe space within the pages of our journal.

Author: S.K. Lumen

Title: Writer

Expertise: women's personal development, mental health, self love

S.K. Lumen is a writer, artist and blogger who is passionate about helping women become their best selves. She writes about personal development, self-love, self-care, wellness & mental health.