Is your health taking a toll because your stress is out of control? Using these 7 mindfulness exercises for stress relief will bring peace back into your life using the power of your mind.
It is nearly impossible to avoid stress. Thanks to modern technology, we are constantly indulged in some form of media that often focuses on all the negativity happening in the world. Stress has such an effect on people that it’s on the verge of becoming a public health crisis, with 44% of Americans saying their stress levels have increased dramatically over the past 5 years. In 2020 alone, Nashville Fit Magazine published a survey showed that this increased to 75% of people saying that their stress levels have increased so dramatically that they feel like they cannot function. At this rate, it is more important than ever to discover new ways in which we can gain control over our thoughts and stress levels so that we may continue to live full and healthy lives.
There is a tool you may have heard of called “mindfulness”. If you haven’t, or you have but never paid it any mind, it may be just the tool you need if you can’t seem to get your thoughts under control.
Mindfulness is described as bringing awareness to the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Practicing mindfulness exercises can not only reduce your stress, but make you more aware of your body, thoughts, and reactions. Once you have fine-tuned these mindfulness exercises, you will be able to allow yourself to focus on positivity and relaxation as opposed to the stress and chaos of the modern world.
Here I will be sharing 7 essential mindfulness exercises you can start practicing to relieve your mind of stress.
1. Deep Breathing Meditation
You will want to find a comfortable position to sit or lay in. Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose and allow your belly to push your hand out, then breath out of your mouth through pursed lips. Pay attention to how it relaxes your body. This mindfulness exercise will bring your awareness to your body and help clear your mind.
2. Mantra Meditation
Write up your own mantra, a string of positive, motivating words that resonate with you and your life currently. Close your eyes and get comfortable. Do some deep breathing and try to clear your mind. Start to recite your mantra. If distracting thoughts persist, which they will do, let them pass and continue repeating your mantra. Meditate on the positive message you are telling yourself.
3. Body Scanning
This is a popular mindfulness exercise. Lay on your back with your arms stretched out above your head. Close your eyes, and focus your energy on different areas of your body that you feel are calling for attention, whether they be uncomfortable, tense, or painful. Focus your energy and intention on calming them down. This will create powerful communication between your mind and body and bring them together as one.
4. Naming Emotions
This mindfulness exercise will help familiarize you with the emotions you experience on a day-to-day basis. Close your eyes. Focus on what you are feeling while you are feeling it and label what it is. Avoid being vague with words like “happy” or “upset”- identify the root emotion, such as “relieved” or “paranoid”. Be sure to do this without passing any judgement on yourself. Doing this will help you understand your emotional process while it is happening.
5. Daily Gratitude
Our days may often feel busy and rushed, but setting aside time to focus on the things you are grateful for is a great mindfulness exercise. Try this at night before you sleep. Take a minute and recount all the positive things you experience throughout your day. Focus on the positive conversations you had, the people you may have met, and the small blessings you recieved.
6. Mindfulness Walk
Instead of stationary meditation, try practicing moving meditation. Go on a walk and start clearing your mind by focusing on the world around you- the way the air smells, the color of the sky, the way your feet hit the pavement. Dive into your senses. Now not only are you exercising your body, but your mind and soul too.
This mindfulness exercise is an easy and effective way to reshape how you approach everyday tasks. Setting intentions can be as simple as taking a moment before a task and reviewing the outcome you’re hoping to achieve. Think of how you are feeling, how you’d like to feel going forward, how you’d like your actions to make others feel, and so on. You can also practice this mindfulness exercise by journaling when you wake up in the morning. Writing out your intentions is a great way to center yourself before the day begins so that you know how you want to handle any problem or task that is presented to you.
Mindfulness and the Pursuit of Happiness
It’s so easy to get lost in your day-to-day life and forget to appreciate the moment you are in. Now that we are aware of the effects stress has on your health, it’s more critical than ever to manage it.
Using the mindfulness exercises explained above will help you become more in tune with yourself and your surroundings. It is a great step in finding true peace and happiness in your everyday life.