The wise Dolly Parton once sang, “Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living.” However, not everyone works a 9 to 5 shift; we have 1st, 2nd, 3rd shifts, and everything else in between. One thing Dolly Parton did get right in that song is that “it’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it.” The working day can be extremely stressful and demanding on our mental health. Sometimes, our crazy and stressful days can carry on into the evening and into our home life; especially when the evening means coming home to a pile of dirty dishes and still needing to cook dinner for your family. Incorporating mindful moments in your daily life can benefit your mental health during a stressful and demanding schedule.
Benefits of a Mindfulness Moment
A mindfulness moment occurs when you take time and pay full attention to your thoughts, feelings, how your body is feeling, and your surrounding environment in the present. You focus on the present thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment, without thinking about the past or future. You slow down to notice what you are doing and how you are feeling. Mindfulness moments can help us increase our ability to regulate emotions, and decrease stress and anxiety.
Stressful moments sprinkle themselves into our time at work or at home. Workplace stress can be: an overall stressful day at work, your boss asking you to add something to your already too full plate, a patron deciding to yell at you, and the list can go on and on. A mindful moment at work can be, taking your lunch break away from your desk and focusing on being present with the task at hand, instead of allowing your mind to wander. Home is another location where you can utilize mindfulness moments. Too many dishes in the sink, kids fighting with each other, your teenager suddenly wanting nothing to do with you, and the cherry on top – needing to figure out what to feed the family for dinner. All of these instances are examples of the perfect time to indulge in a mindfulness moment. Mindfulness moments can also help us to focus our attention and observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. If your mind tends to wander, once you become aware of it, try to guide your mind back to the task at hand.
Examples of Mindfulness Moment
One way to look at mindfulness is being aware of our breathing – breathing consciously. We are breathing all the time, but mindful breathing focuses on the rhythm of your breathing. One example of a mindfulness breathing technique that you can use is the Hot Chocolate breathing technique, from the @journey_to_wellness creator, Rebekah Ballagh. This technique can be described by closing your eyes, imagining that you are holding a cup of hot chocolate in your hands, and holding your hands out as if you were holding a mug. Once your hands are ready, breathe in through your nose, just like you are smelling your hot chocolate. The final step to this breathing technique is to breathe out, acting as if you are trying to cool down your hot chocolate. Hot Chocolate Breathing allows you to close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Practicing mindfulness breathing can help you calm your mind, improve your focus, and center yourself.
Sensations and Body Sensations
Being mindful of sensations means noticing what you are experiencing right now through any or all of your five senses: sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell. The 5 Senses Grounding Technique from Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centers allows us to take a moment and be mindful of what is happening in the present. This grounding technique works by getting yourself into a comfortable position. Once you are in a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths, and notice 5 things you can see in the space around you, 4 things that you can feel near you, 3 things that you can hear, 2 things that you can smell, and 1 thing that you can taste. A positive about this technique is that it can be done at any time or place!
Body sensations, like the body scan technique, allow you to bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. You can find a video by Mari Anne Auwarter, creator of My Body Wise Choice on how to do body scans here.
Feelings and Emotions
Be mindful of how you are feeling, and what your emotions are. Allow your feelings and emotions to be present in the moment. The acronym RAIN can help you by welcoming your emotions.
- R- Recognize. The first step in welcoming your emotions is recognizing that the emotion is occurring – do not try to push away the emotion, embrace it.
- A- Acknowledge. The second step is accepting the feeling. Allow yourself to feel the emotion.
- I- Investigate. The next step is investigating the feeling. How did it become this feeling, and how does it feel in my body?
- N- Non-identify. The final step is to not identify yourself as the emotion. Try to refrain from saying things like, “I am an angry person.” and instead shift your thinking into, “This is what anger feels like.” By not identifying yourself as the emotion, you are allowing yourself to have self-compassion, while being mindful of your emotions and feelings.
Mindfulness moments can help you focus on the present thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment, without thinking about the past or future. These moments can help us increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, and anxiety. Mindfulness moments can also help us focus our attention and observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Ballagh, Rebekah. (2018, July 6). Hot Chocolate Breathing Technique. Retrieved from here. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bk5zcPnAH79/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Burjan, K. (n.d.). The 5 Senses Grounding Technique. Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centers. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from here.
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Salzberg, S. (2018, June 6). Rain: A mindfulness practice for Welcoming your emotions. Mindful. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from here.
Using your senses. Anxiety Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2022, from here.
Why be mindful? Center for Change. (2020, April 23). Retrieved May 26, 2022, from here.
YouTube. (2013). 5 Minute Body Scan. YouTube. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from here.