If you feel like you are drowning underneath your responsibilities, worries, and stress, you might be dealing with a bad case of overwhelm. This can seem like something everyone deals with, but it does affect your mental and physical health, which means you don’t have to just deal with it. There are ways to reduce your overwhelm, starting with mindfulness.
You might have heard of mindfulness before, as it has been a hot topic recently. It can sound intimidating, but is nothing more than living and thinking in the present and helping your mindset to reflect that. There are many benefits of mindfulness, including helping to reduce stress and overwhelm.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a hot topic lately, especially when talking about personal development, mental health, and reducing stress in your life. Mindfulness is wonderful for so many areas of stress, including overwhelm and burnout.
So, what is mindfulness? It is a state of being more aware of your thoughts and intentions, finding a place of acceptance, and living in the presence. There is a lot to mindfulness, but this is the basic definition of what being mindful means. You are aware of what is happening right now, whether it is experiencing your stress, then rationalizing it, eating a meal, or focusing on a craft project. No matter what you are doing, you can benefit by being more mindful.
Living in the Present
The first part of mindfulness is living in the present, which can help a lot if you have been overwhelmed lately from stress in your life. When you get overwhelmed, it can be hard to focus on what is most important. You tend to have so much going on in your brain at all times, that it feels hopeless and like you will never be able to manage it all.
This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness allows you to live in the present, where you are only focused on this very moment. What is important right now? Not in a week or a month or a year. Not worrying about what already has happened. JUST focus on RIGHT NOW. This can help you to organize your thoughts and find what your priorities are.
Mindful Exercises and Techniques
Mindfulness can be a very simple process, depending on what you need it for and the situation where you are trying to be mindful. The basic technique just involves being present, sometimes writing down what you are doing, thinking, and feeling in that moment. For example, if you are trying to be more mindful during your meals, you can get out your journal and really be detailed with how you feel eating these foods. Are they nourishing you? Do you enjoy them? Are you happy with your choices? This can be a great tool for intuitive eating as well.
There are also some different exercises that can help you with mindfulness if you are new to it, or struggling staying in that present state. Here are some good exercises to start with:
Body scan – The first technique is not only used for mindfulness, but for meditation as well. This is a body scan exercise, where you are going to mentally scan each part of your body, one section at a time. This allows you to be more mindful by focusing on how each part of your body feels in that moment, but can also get you into a relaxed, meditative state.
Instead of thinking about what is worrying you at the moment, you instead think about parts of your body, like your scalp, ears, chest, stomach, arms, legs, hands, or feet. Go through each body part one at a time, really focusing on it.
Breathing – You can also try a breathing exercise with mindfulness. For this, just the action of practicing your breathing gets you into a meditative, mindful state. You will be thinking about your breathing right in this moment, and not worrying too much about the past or the future. Breathing exercises are simple – just sit in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Inhale deeply, then exhale. Each time you inhale and exhale, try to hold it for several seconds, and relax your mind and body as you do this.
Use Your Senses – The last mindful exercise you can try out is where you try to use all of your senses in this moment. For example, what do you smell? Do you feel anything near you? If you’re eating or drinking, what do you taste? Use all 5 of your senses for this practice.