Stretch each part of your body when you wake up:
Spend two minutes to stretch out your muscles when you wake up. Notice how your limbs are feeling and if there are any particular areas of tension in your body. Keep your mind on the task of stretching. This works best if you can get it done before grabbing your phone and checking what you missed in the last 6-8hours.
Re-adjust your posture:
Choose something that can trigger you to do this. Ie, instead of getting frustrated that you are waiting in a que, for the traffic lights to change or for your delayed train to arrive, take this time to bring your shoulders back, to engage your tummy muscles, soften your knees and to check if you are holding onto muscles that don’t need to be under tension.
Make a cup of tea:
But actually make a cup of tea. Listen to the kettle boil, wait patiently and just think about your cuppa at the end of the process rather than allowing your mind to wander into irrelevant worries or plans for the day.
Check your breathing:
Next time you go to check your emails. Stop yourself for 30seconds. Simply think about counting your breaths. Some people like to count the in breath for 6 and the out breath for 8, whilst others might just like to count a total of ten breaths. Whatever it is that works for you. Just give your brain 30seconds to process what has just happened today and breathe.
Use your senses:
Close your eyes and listen. Pick out three sounds you don’t normally notice. You can do this on the train, in the garden or on a park bench. Nobody is going to judge, you’ll just look like you’ve nodded off for a few seconds. In actual fact you will be using a little tool to bring your mind into the present moment and encouraging it to stay focussed on the now rather than worry about yesterday or tomorrow.
Notice your body in contact with a surface
It does’t matter if you are standing, lying, sitting or perching. Just notice how your body is in contact with a surface. Notice this anchor point and it’s as simple as that. This one really is a 2second practice that can just calm you and release your thinking from the stresses and struggles of daily life.
Make a mental list of five things you are grateful for
Practicing gratitude is a great way for us to put our lives into a little perspective. It can sometimes just take this mental check for you to realise that your stresses are not life threatening at this moment in time.
Eat to Eat
Try eating a meal without the distraction of your phone or the TV or your laptop. See if you feel fuller quicker and if you enjoy your food better.
Try a Pilates or Yoga class
If you’ve ever really taken part in either of these classes, you will find that you shouldn’t have chance to even think about anything but the exercises. Both take a great deal of concentration in order to perform with good technique and incase you need any more persuading both have been proven to lower levels of stress and anxiety. Combining working the body and mind = win win.
Download an app
If you can’t manage without your phone, try using it for a little mindfulness practice. There are plenty of great apps out there that can help you guide yourself through mindfulness practice. A train journey, first thing in the morning or a quiet ten minutes before bed are all great opportunities to give these a go. Take a look at HeadSpace or Stop, Breathe and Think to get you started.