Let’s face it – day to day life can be hectic and sometimes overwhelming when you’re a parent, and stress is inevitable. But the good news? We can actually train our brains to step back, slow down and respond to these stressful situations more calmly by practicing mindfulness.
So, what is mindfulness?
Generally speaking, mindfulness is the practice of increased awareness of what is happening from moment-to-moment and acceptance or non-judgement of our thoughts & feelings. Research has shown that engaging in simple mindfulness exercises has tremendous benefits for both our mental and physical well-being.
Fitting mindfulness into your day doesn’t have to be challenging. We asked Taylor Rispoli, a licensed master social worker and school-based clinician to share her tips on how to best incorporate this practice into our lives. Below, she shares five easy mindfulness practices that are quick, easy and can turn your day around in less than a minute.
1: Start each day by stating your intentions.
This can be as simple as ‘Today I will do the best that I am able.’ You can do this before your feet even touch the floor in the morning. By stating your intentions, you prime your brain to feel positive and motivated.
2: Feeling overwhelmed or out-of-control?
Do a quick grounding technique. Grounding techniques re-wire your brain back to the present moment. They pull your attention away from the problems of yesterday and your anxieties of the future. This is an example of an easy technique you can do anywhere, at any time:
- Name 5 things you can see.
- Name 4 things you can hear.
- Name 3 things you can feel.
- Name 2 things you can smell.
- Name 1 thing you can taste.
3: Taking deep breaths sounds like an obvious solution to reducing stress.
However, it can be tough for people to grasp onto the idea & often having a specific way of breathing can be helpful. Try simple 4-square breathing! You can repeat this process as many times as needed until your feel calmer, re-energized, or you are ready to keep on moving.
- Inhale for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds
- Exhale for 4 seconds
- Relax for 4 seconds
4: End each day by expressing gratitude.
Take a second to think about the day you just had- good, bad, hectic, lazy. No matter what your day looked like, you can always find small reasons to be grateful. Expressing gratitude helps put our day-to-day stressors into perspective.
5: Download the app Headspace.
Headspace is an easy way to learn and implement mediation into your day-to-day life. It’s geared towards children and adults who may have little-to-no prior experience with mediation. The app will teach simple techniques slowly and only require 5-10 minutes of your day! It can be a wonderful & relaxing addition to any car ride or family time.