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Has life felt like a little too much lately?
Have you felt overwhelmed?
As if you are pouring every ounce of yourself out only to come up short?
In these moments, our instinct might be to grit our teeth and dig in our heels or to mentally check out and avoid the challenges at hand, but those options will often only leave us further exhausted, frustrated, and defeated.
In a busy world that demands more than it delivers, it is vital that you and I make intentional decisions to protect our confidence, joy, and effectiveness. One simple way to do just that is to integrate moments of mindfulness into our daily lives. In studies, mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and combat depression.
Mindfulness can be defined in different ways. But simply put, it is training yourself to notice the present moment, which helps you to achieve a sense of calm and cultivate positive emotions.
Here are three ways you can choose to practice mindfulness today:
BE MINDFUL BY TAKING INVENTORY
Find a small pocket of time to check on your physical and mental wellbeing.
- Sitting or standing, take stock of your posture, and slowly straighten your back. Focus on breathing deeply as you release any lingering tension throughout your body. If there is any discomfort tugging at your attention, take a moment to tend to it.
- Breathing in and out, take account of your thoughts and emotions. Note the topics that are consuming your mind and acknowledge exactly how you feel without judgment.
- Examine yourself with grace. Do you gravitate toward any negative patterns or reactions that aren’t rooted in wholeness and truth? Consider and decide how you could exchange these habits for positive alternatives and healthier responses.
BE MINDFUL BY CHOOSING KINDNESS
Develop simple habits throughout your day to invest in a healthy perspective.
- Speak to yourself with truth and grace. Exchange the self-deprecating thoughts with verbal affirmations. For instance, if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do this. I’m not (smart, strong, confident, fill-in-the-blank-here) enough!” instead try saying, “I am able to handle this. I can do hard things.”
- Write, think, and repeat positive truths. Post an encouraging scripture or quote on the mirror or dashboard as a reminder of truth to look at throughout your day. Pick a simple phrase such as, “I can choose peace,” or “ Don’t be anxious but pray instead” to help you stay grounded in the challenging moments.
- Remember that wellness of our thoughts and emotions is tied tightly to our physical bodies. Make plans to eat nutritious meals, to incorporate physical activity, and to go to bed at a decent hour.
BE MINDFUL BY SLOWING DOWN
Decide to be the tortoise rather than the hare at home, church, and in the workplace.
- Take time to pare down the priority list and stick to the essentials. Choosing to give your best to a few primary tasks while delegating or releasing other responsibilities will give you a new freedom, a sense of purpose, and restored self-confidence. This may be as simple as choosing to make grocery orders online rather than shop in person each week or as difficult as trusting a spouse or coworker with a project you’d normally oversee.
- Find moments to be grateful. Expressing gratitude to others increases connection and exudes self-assurance. Scripture recommends lining anxious prayers with thankfulness to make a space for peace within our hearts. A little appreciation can go a long way in your daily life.
- Leave room for grace. While developing a habit of mindfulness, realize that renewing our mindset is a process and that is okay. Some days might be a greater struggle than others. Lean into the journey and take joy in the small victories.
While we can’t control the way our world and culture operates, we can choose how we want to respond to those demands. Today is the perfect day to shake off defeat and discouragement and to find your solid footing again. Developing a lifestyle of mindfulness might do just that. By taking inventory of your wellbeing regularly, choosing to treat yourself with kindness, and slowing down to prioritize, you can restore and protect the confidence, joy, and effectiveness that you were made to have.