As we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19, it is critical that we have tools and resources to manage our mental health. Daily mindfulness is a proven method to reduce stress, boost immune function and improve our sense of well-being.
While adding a daily mindfulness practice to your schedule can feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is 5-10 minutes a day to experience significant benefits.
Below we are sharing three easy, daily mindfulness techniques you can use to create calm from chaos. To further your practice, we encourage you to check out our audio-guided programs for schools, or download the Inner Explorer @HOME app for families to continue forming a meaningful daily mindfulness practice together.
1. Staying Present by Using the Breath. Mindful breathing calms the body and can help stabilize an anxious mind. The next time you notice you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try to focus your attention on your breath by doing the following:
Anxiety can overwhelm us with what MIGHT happen. Our brain has a ‘negativity bias’, so we often imagine the worst-case scenario. When we stay in the present, the bias is overcome and we can better manage the ‘now.’ Through focused attention during everyday activities, we can practice mindfulness and find a sense of calm.
2. Finding the Good Despite Challenges. While it may seem hard to find gratitude during hardship, research shows that gratitude lifts our spirits and strengthens our ability to cope with difficulties. When faced with uncertainties, it’s natural to focus on the bad, the restrictions and fear of the unknown. Gratitude can be incorporated into our daily mindfulness practice to help us foster a sense of hope and resiliency, rather than allow our mind to wander to a negative place.
Try out this five-minute nature gratitude practice we created in collaboration with the LG Electronics Experience Happiness Initiative. Practice with your classroom or your family, followed by a few reflection questions:
3. Using the S.T.O.P technique. The S.T.O.P. technique stands for: Stop. Take a breath. Observe. Proceed. This is a powerful way to move out of reactivity and instead respond in a compassionate, thoughtful way. When you find yourself reacting to a person, situation or even your own thoughts – try out S.T.O.P. and see how it influences your ability to respond.
These are just a few of the ways we can use mindfulness to help navigate the stressors in our lives. Remember that in just 5-10 minutes a day, you can create a difference in your well-being simply by slowing down, focusing on the breath, practicing gratitude or taking a pause.
To find out more about our audio-guided mindfulness programs for schools and experience a few of our practices for grades PK-12, click here.