I teach a powerful tool to help address stress, anxiety, depression and a multitude of mental and physical health concerns: mindfulness. A formal mindfulness practice usually involves carving some time out of your day, sitting (or lying or moving) for a set period of time, and focusing on something in particular with a sense of curiosity, nonjudgment, acceptance, and compassion.
Confession time: I hate to meditate! I suck at it. I can't sit still that long -- though the more I practice the easier it becomes. I prefer to use what are called informal mindfulness practices: paying attention in the moment. Noticing what I'm doing, the state of my body and mind, and breathing.
I build informal mindfulness practices into my daily life so that I'm constantly monitoring and modulating my stress level. One of my favorites is to Ground, Breathe, and Proceed.
When I'm transitioning between tasks, rather than just start right in, I take a moment to pause and:
- Feel my feet firmly planted on the ground.
- Take a full body breath. Breathe in to engage the diaphragm muscle (which helps stimulate relaxation), check in with my stress level, and exhale fully releasing any tension.
- Proceed with a clear mind and a more relaxed body.
Here's a live demonstration of the technique: