Instead of unthinkingly propelling yourself straight into your busy day, a more mindful start will help you feel better equipped to deal with the stressors that arise at work and home.
This simple body-scan practice is a great way to start your day. It allows you to harness the post-sleep calm of your mind, before it begins racing away.
Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and breathe in a natural way. Bring your attention to your in-breath and follow it through to the end of your out-breath.
Once you feel fully relaxed, bring your attention to the top of your head and notice any sensations you feel. It might be tingling or heat.
The particular sensations aren’t important, simply notice your feelings.
Now move your attention down to your face, jaw, neck and shoulders, maintaining awareness of each body part.
Notice your arms and hands, stomach and back. Then bring your attention to your pelvis and sitting bones, your legs and feet, while breathing in a relaxed way.
Finally, take one last deep inhalation, smile softly and acknowledge your intention to bring this peace of mind into your day.
If you notice anxiety and stress rising during the day, try these simple exercises:
Slow down the breath.
When we feel anxious, we tend to take quick shallow breaths, which deepens our anxiety. To counter this, slow your breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Hold your breath for one to two seconds, then exhale slowly to the count of four. Repeat several times.
Question your reactiveness.
When you respond to stressful situations, ask yourself: am I jumping to conclusions Am I magnifying the situation? Is this an opportunity to better communicate my needs? Can I trust that with time this situation will be resolved?
Take a break.
If something at work is causing you stress, remove yourself from the situation to calm down, clear your mind and offer a change in perspective. Grabbing a snack, changing the room you’re in or stepping outside for some fresh air will help you to relax and recharge.
For more ideas check out our post on 20 ways to take a mindful break.