It can seem impossible to remain mindful in a world that is so noisy.
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That’s why it’s more important than ever to practice mindfulness—wherever and whenever you can—in your life. This week, on The Femails, we are joined by Ashley Graber and Shira Myrow, psychotherapists, meditation and mindfulness educators, and the founders of the Evenflow app. This week, we’re talking all about—you guessed it—mindfulness.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is being present in an accepting and non-judgemental way. It’s that simple—and that difficult. Research has proven that regularly practicing mindfulness at work reduces stress—both in and out of the office walls.
When we are practicing mindfulness, we are carefully observing our thoughts and feelings without placing good or bad judgment on them. It’s taking a few beats to breathe, noticing colors and sounds, or simply counting your steps as you walk from your desk to the bathroom.
Mindfulness helps us to down-regulate—or to simply feel better.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS?
The benefits are pretty big here, so listen up.
Mindfulness, when practiced regularly, can lower stress levels, reduce harmful negative self-talk, improve overall health, and protect against anxiety and depression.
We live in a stressful world—one which requires us to be on all the time. For example, when was the last time you put your phone down for even five minutes? When was the last time you were away from a noisy glowing screen for more than an hour?
The CDC recently released a report that owes 90% of all illnesses to stress. Mindfulness, when practiced regularly, allows one to disconnect from stress, even if briefly.
Mindfulness is extremely important at work. Mindfulness also allows employees to transition from work life to home life—which is especially beneficial for someone who has a stressful job, family life, or both.
In short, the benefits of practicing mindfulness are pretty endless, especially when you consider your overall health. So, how do we actually do it?
HOW CAN I INCORPORATE MINDFULNESS INTO MY (BUSY) WORKDAY?
We know you’re busy and that it can seem a little “woo-woo” to take time out of your world domination plans to practice mindfulness. You might say, “Well, I’m here, aren’t I? Isn’t that mindful enough?” Well, sort of.
Practicing mindfulness requires you to step out of your ego—even for a moment. There is a common misconception that practicing mindfulness or meditation requires a person to step entirely out of themselves for a long period of time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Mindfulness can be practiced in small, incremental ways to start. For example, mindfulness can begin on your commute to work. It’s practicing a moment-to-moment awareness. It’s noticing the thoughts and emotions you feel when you’re driving—without judgment and with compassion.
A daily practice of mindfulness will likely require a set of tools—a mindfulness toolbox if you will. It will include simple ways to practice mindfulness, such as:
- Red light meditation: Take a breath (or two) when you’re stopped at a red light
- Walking meditation: Notice your footsteps while you walk
- Breathing reminders: Set a daily reminder to take a breath (even if it’s just a single breath!)
- Switch a routine: Bring a presence to things you do every day—by doing them differently. Maybe take a different route to work or walk through a different entrance
When you want to start meditating, there are many resources to help you get started. There are books, apps, and local meditation classes you can attend.
- Meditation apps like Evenflow offer hundreds of curated meditations for beginners to experienced meditators.
- Meditation books like Jack Hornfield’s Meditation for Beginners can guide you on your formative meditation journey
- Meditation classes are likely available nearby. Check out your local yoga studio or meditation center to participate in a group meditation.
- YouTube videos are also a great way to practice mindfulness and meditation, even at your work desk.