5 Tips for Mindfulness During Uncertain Times
June 11, 2020
Mindfulness is the ultimate expression of controlling what we want in our lives — starting with what we choose to think and feel. Being present, accepting and releasing feelings, and actively dwelling on positive things that are important to each of us has many benefits that have been extensively studied. These include lowering blood pressure, increasing mental agility, increasing feelings of connectedness and gratitude, being fully present for our day, and decreasing anxiety.
Below, Antonia shares 5 tips to practice mindfulness in your life each day:
Start the day with reflection & intention — Take 10 minutes to sit, focus only on yourself and your own mind. Reflect on what is challenging you, let feelings go from yesterday or anything that surfaced in the morning, and set your intentions for the day. This time should not be spent on to-do lists, what you need to do for others, or what projects you need to complete. This time is all about clearing your mind of clutter, reflecting on what you personally want to feel in that day, and how you intend to act throughout the day as a reflection of what you stand for and who you are.
Be organized and structure your time — I need to have a plan for each day that allows me to structure my time with intention and organization. Each of us has more to accomplish in any day than we can possibly complete, so being intentional with your time is an important extension of being mindful. I reflect on what is most important to me, and I also think about what meetings or engagements are likely to be difficult or challenging, so I can structure them in a way that allows me to be calm and present.
During the day, examine feelings when they happen — Don’t just experience feelings without reflection. When you feel any extreme emotion: anger, irritation, or elation, step back from that feeling for a moment, take yourself out of the experience, and think about what is driving it — get to the root by being honest with yourself. If it’s a negative feeling — do you really need to feel it for any longer? Can you just acknowledge it, release it, and move on? I love the Winston Churchill quote, “You’ll never reach your destination if you stop and throw rocks at every dog that barks.” Think about your feelings through this lens — Are they helpful? Are they getting you to what you want for yourself?
Take 5 minutes in the middle of the day to step back and focus on yourself — We live in such a hectic world of distraction and immediate need that I find it helps to take 5 minutes somewhere in the middle of the day to reflect on how my day is actual going and re-center if I needed. If I’m having a great day, I remind myself to be grateful and to think about how to pass that along to others. If I am having a challenging day, I think about what I need to release and how I can reestablish a sense of calm, clarity, and control that leads to a better second half of the day. No day is promised to any of us, so I focus on delivering my best contribution every day, and sometimes that requires me to really exert mental discipline over my thoughts.
Close your day out with a non-negotiable ritual — The end of the day is just as important as the beginning, and I find that an evening ritual — even small or short, can help center thoughts, prepare mind and body for restful sleep, and release the day. For me, this includes 15 minutes of meditation in a space specifically for this purpose. Sensory experiences are very tied to my mindfulness, so I also have calming a lavender nebulizer, and a cup of decaffeinated black tea with vanilla soymilk. This isn’t a big time commitment, but it forces me to slow down, focus exclusively on my own mental refresh, and ensures I am in position to sleep. In times of extreme stress, I also write down anything that bothers me as a ritual way of giving myself permission to release it, so I don’t think about it while I sleep. Guarding restful sleep is so important.
To view the full interview with Antonia featured on Thrive Global, please click here.