Antidote to the Stress of Modern Living
By Patricia Schirmer Bazzard • May 2019
Mindfulness is the therapeutic practice of focusing one’s awareness, calmly accepting the thoughts, feelings and sensations that one is experiencing in the present moment. It is akin to meditation techniques.
Start Enjoying Its Benefits
Mindfulness can be used to alleviate work or exam stresses, regulate emotion, refresh your mind, relax to get a better night’s sleep, and become more resilient to annoyances or things not going as you’ve planned.
5 Mindfulness Methods You Can Try Out Today
1. The Raisin Exercise
This introductory step to practicing mindfulness was devised by clinical psychologists Jan E. Fleming and Nancy L. Kocovski. It can be attempted with any piece of textured food: pick up a raisin (or some such) and inspect it as if you have never seen such a thing before. Give it your absolute attention, absorbing every aspect of the way it looks, feels, smells, tastes, and how it responds to manipulation. The exercise is designed to help you place your mind in the present moment.
2. The Five Senses Exercise
The Five Senses Exercise lets you practice mindfulness in any location, to help ground yourself in the present moment. Choose things to notice, taking your time to focus your awareness on each item, using your senses in the following order: take note of five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. Try to pick things you don’t usually notice.
3. Colouring-In – It’s Not Just For Kids
Mindfulness colouring-in books are available at any good bookstore, and have really taken off as an effective means of attaining a state of calm. The activity also allows you to recapture the joys of the simpler days of your childhood: the clean woody smell of a new set of colouring pencils, the cheery vibrance of colouring pens with the colours all lined up in pleasing order, the peace that comes from being absorbed in choosing and applying colours to a page.
4. Find Your Jigsaw Peace
If you prefer company to solitude, sharing a jigsaw puzzle can bring you and friends together in companionable silent absorption. Solving a jigsaw puzzle uses both the analytical left side and the creative right side of our brains, providing just enough of a mental challenge to draw and refocus our minds away from churning negative thoughts. This gentle concentration helps to bring about a peaceful, meditative state of mind – creating a little pocket of mental respite in your day.
5. “Take A Walk To Clear Your Mind”
Similar to “a change is as good as a rest”. These are simple, homegrown phrases that hold a surprising amount of wisdom. Take yourself out of a location or situation where you feel overloaded and go to a location that is unrelated to the source of stress. Here you can recharge yourself by dwelling at least for a short while in a different present moment. Combine this with one of the other mindfulness exercises for an effective quick-fix.
Why not allow yourself a little space in your day to practice some mindfulness self-care, and see the difference it makes??