When life gets busy and stressful, it can be difficult to push the pause button and focus on yourself and your body. By regularly practicing mindfulness or meditation, you can train your brain to have a healthy, focused response in a stressful situation or environment. Simply taking as little as five minutes each day to practice mindful breathing can have a huge impact on your focus and mood.
Practicing Mindful Breathing
With mindful breathing, the easiest place to begin is to simply focus on your breath. Setting aside a particular time in your day can be a great way to establish this habit, but studies have shown that practicing mindful breathing during times you are stressed may make it more effective.
Find a comfortable position, whether it’s lying on your bed or the couch, or sitting in a chair. Close your eyes to help maintain focus. Take notice of how your breath rises and falls. Try not to think about anything else. If you find your mind wandering, gently correct yourself with a thought such as “wandering” or “thinking,” then redirect your thoughts back to your breathing.
Tune in to your breath. You do not need to do anything special with your breathing pattern, just take notice of your body and how it feels. Note any heaviness or tension you feel, and focus on relaxing those areas.
Practice your mindful breathing by using this gif to guide your inhale and exhale.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Taking a few moments to focus on yourself has many benefits. Here are a few:
- Improved well-being. Being mindful makes it easier to appreciate the things that make you happy when they happen and cope with the stressful moments in life.
- Improved physical health. Mindfulness can be used to help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
- Improved mental health. Psychotherapists have used mindfulness to treat depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Check Your Mental Health
We at Community Access Network are here to help you if you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Our Behavioral Health professionals can help you identify your stressors and come up with a plan on how to take care of yourself.