Mindfulness during stress
You come across the term mindfulness frequently. It is said to be the ideal technique to better cope with tension, anxiety and stress. This is because normally people are actually always in their heads and preoccupied with the past or the future. We fear what may happen or grumble about the things that went wrong yesterday or last week. Mindfulness can help you be in the now, let go of thoughts and therefore tension and stress. What exactly is mindfulness and how can it help with stress? You can read it below.
Full attention to the now with mindfulness
How often are you with your attention in the now, the present moment? It can be fun to reflect on this and you may be surprised how difficult it still is. For example, focus for a minute on the now: on what you see, feel, hear. Before you know it, your mind is distracted and mulling over the groceries again, your child struggling at school, or that meeting you have tomorrow. Your brain is constantly preoccupied with the past or the future and very little with the now.
Because you are carried away by those worries and our minds tend to focus on what is not going well, you are in fact always under stress. Mindfulness helps you refocus on the now. And isn’t it true that in the “now” there is actually nothing going on? By applying mindfulness techniques you come into present moment, where you can enjoy what is now. Without forcing yourself, send your attention to your senses, your breathing or your body.
This also allows you to release your thoughts for a while and the accompanying tensions. Mindfulness is therefore a wonderful method for reducing symptoms caused by stress and anxiety. It’s not always easy, your problems or worries seem so important. But mindfulness also gives you more insight into your thinking and emotions and how you identify with them. With mindfulness, you can learn to look at this differently.
The positive effect of mindfulness on stress
With mindfulness, you can better stay with yourself, and therefore deal differently with situations that are difficult or create tension. It makes you resilient to stress. Of course, you can benefit from mindfulness even if you don’t have any symptoms. But these techniques can have benefits for your mental health:
- Helps reduce anxiety and stress symptoms
- Enjoy life more
- Improved concentration
- Teaches to focus on the positive rather than negative
- Enjoying the little things in life
Research shows that mindfulness can help with anxiety and tension and also have a positive effect on mood (in depression).
Different mindfulness techniques for stress
Many books have been written about mindfulness. It therefore includes more than a few exercises. If you want to know more about mindfulness, it is recommended to read a book about it. To get started, here are some exercises that can help you figure out what mindfulness is all about and the effect it has on you.
Watching/listening with attention
The simplest and at the same time most difficult exercise is to focus your whole attention on what you hear or see. This can help well with anxious feelings.
Sit quietly in a cross-legged position or with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and focus your attention on what you hear. First, focus on the sounds nearby. Maybe you hear a computer or a refrigerator. Don’t pass judgment on the sounds, but let them be there. Over time, you will hear sounds from further away: the birds outside or a car driving by. And then sounds from even further away. You can think of all these sounds as the rhythm of life. They are just there. By focusing on a single sense, you put your mind on pause for a moment.
You can also do this with what you see. For example, stand in front of the window and look outside. Try to name ten different objects. Count them quietly and look at them carefully. You can also choose an object on the table and look at it with concentration. Observe to colors, the shape, the texture.
Going outside is a wonderful means of releasing stress anyway. But you can benefit even more from the peace and quiet by walking mindfully. Make sure you can’t be disturbed, put your cell phone on silent. Walk at a slow pace and focus your attention on a single facet of the walk: your body (feel the movement, the wind on your skin, every step you take). Focus on what you hear or what you see. Let go of all thoughts and come fully into the now.
Do not judge
Thoughts are a natural thing, they come up naturally and it doesn’t matter. But problems arise because you start judging what is happening in your life. What your neighbor did was unkind, that conversation went badly, and the weather is rough. They are all judgments and all these opinions have an effect on how you feel. That’s why mindfulness teaches you not to judge. Become aware of how you judge something or someone. Can you let go of this judgment and just let everything be how it is? It can feel liberating to not have to judge.
Another thing that can bring peace is learning to recognize that you don’t have to listen to your thoughts. It’s just that voice in your head that’s always there. Your thoughts are not the same as yourself. What this voice says is not the truth. Sit quietly and find the silence within yourself. If a thought comes up, look at it from a distance and just let it go. You don’t have to do anything with it.
Mindfulness can bring a lot of peace into your life. It takes some practice and commitment to learn to be in the now in this way. But mindfulness is worthwhile because it can bring relaxation to anxiety and stress. There are also helpful apps to master mindfulness, such as the VGZ Mindfulness Coach or Insight Timer. Microdosing can also support you with stress and help you relax better. The positive effects of mindfulness can be well combined with the power of microdosing.