11th March 2021
Author: Saloni Bhise
Personal Wellbeing Advisor – Crestpoint Psychology
In today’s busy world, it’s no secret that many of us are constantly under pressure and feeling stressed. Whether it be numerous work deadlines due in a tight space of time, financial worries or a copious number of responsibilities, stress can significantly impact our mental health.
In fact, the Stress and Wellbeing survey reported up to 64% of the Australian population report that stress has negatively impacted their mental health, with very few pursuing professional support. As these alarming figures continue to rise, it’s essential that we understand how to effectively cope with stress for a healthier, balanced self. Hence, this is the reason as to why many are turning towards the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is when we are calmly accepting and aware of our feelings and sensations in the present moment, without judgement. When we become stressed, thoughts can become disorganised and we become consumed in a spiral of thoughts.
Instead, mindfulness enables us to bring attention to the present moment, while creating a state of attentiveness and focused relaxation.
It’s comprised of three main components – intention (what you aim to acquire from mindfulness), attention (directed attention to internal and external experience), and attitude (accepting the experience). These components work together to create an experience which can boost cognitive clarity, relax muscles and improve sleep.
If that’s not enough, studies have discovered that individuals who participated in regular mindfulness, exhibit significant reductions in anxiety and distress compared to the no-treatment group!
So, with incredible benefits like these, why not discover and incorporate some mindfulness tasks that will manage stress and bring you closer to calmer, balanced lifestyle? Here are a few mindfulness activities to try when next time you need to manage your stress!
- Mindful breathing – a simple activity that can be performed anytime, anywhere. Relax your muscles, inhale and exhale deep breaths with brief pauses in between. Focus your attention on the rhythm of your breathing and feel the lightness in your mind and body.
2. Body Scan- while seated, allocate attention to one body part at a time, noticing sensations without judgment. When you find an area of discomfort, breathe into these sensations and create relaxation in your body and mind.
3. Five senses – next time you drink a cup of tea, or go for a walk, bring awareness to the different smells, sights, sounds, tastes and textures available. Zesty ginger tea? Bright blue sky? Immerse yourself in the present moment and create inner balance.
These simple techniques are commonly used in the practice of mindfulness, and act as an anchor to pull us back into the present moment when we’re stressed. In order to effectively incorporate these techniques over time, numerous apps, podcasts, online courses, videos and even local mindfulness group sessions are on the market waiting for you.
So, next time you feel stressed on the commute, why not incorporate five minutes of mindfulness to potentially create a happier, balanced lifestyle?
References: Stress and Wellbeing Survey, Australian Psychological Society