In today’s post, we will look at mindfulness for stress relief.

This is the final post in the 7 ways to stress less challenge. The first post looked at how stress is a killer and its time to address our stress levels.

Let’s talk about mindfulness for a moment.

Simply put, mindfulness is about paying attention and living in the moment.

Think of it as taking the time to stop and smell the roses. It’s about cutting out the distractions and noise. It’s about choosing to focus on something in particular. 

There are some big benefits to practising mindfulness. But How can we use mindfulness for stress relief?

One of the reasons we feel stressed is because we are pulled in many different directions and are constantly bombarded by new information, media, and demands.

Practising mindfulness allows you to tune out the noise and give your mind a break.

This in turn will help you relieve stress and by making mindfulness part of your daily routine, you can start to permanently reduce stress and negate some of its negative side effects. 

Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. You don’t have to get into any long mindfulness meditations, unless you want to.

You can start with some very easy and simple things.

A Mindful Eating Exercise

Let’s take mindful eating for example. Instead of eating in front of the TV or looking at your phone while you eat dinner, try this instead. Get out a plate and arrange your food on it.

Sit down to eat and put your phone away. Focus on the food.

What does it look like? What does it smell like? How does it taste? Savour each bite and pay attention to how your body is starting to react.

Not only is it a great way to de-stress, but you’ll also find you’ll get a lot more out of each meal and this type of eating tends to keep you from overindulging. 

Mindful eating allows you to slow down and enjoy your meal in a way that you may normally not. Without the usual distraction, you may notice when you feel full and finish your meal sooner rather than eating everything on your plate.

This way you appreciate your food, the flavours and it aids digestion.

Try A Mindfulness Meditation

Another great way to use mindfulness for stress relief is with a mindfulness meditation.

There are some fantastic apps out there, some of them with free resources. If you enjoy nature sounds or tranquil music, then this may be an excellent accompaniment to your meditation.

Start by focusing on your breathing and notice how the air rushes in and out of your lungs.

Breathing is the most natural activity we do and often we pay no attention to how it makes us feel.

What does it feels like to have the air move in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your abdomen.

Attempt this exercise for 5 minutes to start with and build it up gradually.

Paying closes attention to the rise and fall of each breath with calm you down and you will start to feel so relaxed.

All that matters is in that moment. Focusing on the present time. Your mind is not dwelling on the past, nor it it worrying about the future.

All of your focus should just be on your breath.

Mindfulness in your surroundings 

You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

Thats the beauty of it. You have the ability to practice mindfulness for stress relief at any time.

You don’t need to be a member of a gym or take large chunks of time out of your day.

It’s just there, within you, waiting to be used and for you to call upon it whenever you may need it.

The hardest part is remembering to do it!

When you start to feel stressed try to take a short break from your task.

Create one or two small rituals for yourself that focus on mindfulness for those moments of stress.

Maybe it’s a simple meditation in the morning, or really paying attention to that first cup of coffee.

Maybe it’s going for a stroll after dinner by yourself where you can practice being mindful of your surroundings and the beauty you encounter.

Give it a try and start to reap the many short and long-term benefits of practising mindfulness for stress relief.

I hope you have enjoyed this 7 part mini series! If you need to recap then here are the links you need.

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