5 Steps to Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddist practice that helps one to live in harmony. The future never really arrives for life is truly a progression of NOW moments. Yesterday is gone; all we have is today. Each moment you have the opportunity to fully engage, to really live.

1)     Right now, notice how you are sitting. Are you slouching; are your shoulders rounded?  Take a gentle breath in; hold for the count of four, breathe out to the count of five. Repeat a few times.

2)     Take note of your surroundings. Pick one thing in your office or wherever you are right now and really notice it. It could be your ring or your mouse pad, a spectacular sunset or a beautiful flower. Notice everything about it – its lines and design and colour; remember to breathe.  Allow it to touch your heart in some way. This little exercise will bring you focus and into The Now quickly.

3)     Quit multi-tasking. In actuality, the mind switches back and forth very quickly from one thought to another, however, it only focuses on ONE thing at a time. Talking on a cell phone while driving and eating a sandwich at the same time is not mindfulness. Also, multi-tasking can turn out to be a dangerous habit.

4)     Live consciously. When you eat an apple or a piece of chocolate – don’t just wolf it down, really taste its tartness or sweetness; notice its texture. Chew it slowly and enjoy the flavor right down to the last bite. Enjoy it. Living in The Now means getting the most out of every moment, even mundane tasks like washing dishes! Feel the warm water on your hands and enjoy the sensations.

5)     To experience The Now through mindfulness is to truly hear others. Make a point of listening intently when others speak to you. Look them in the eye. Be interested in what they’re saying. Don’t shuffle papers. Be with that person, fully. Conversely, notice how you feel in conversation when someone isn’t listening to you. It hurts when others aren’t interested in what you have to say. Our self-esteem can be diminished. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Be aware; set your intentions to be mindful, to live in The Now. For if we choose to continue to live in “la la” land, unconsciously, we may hurt those we love; and live out our lives without depth in our days, hours and moments. Even if it’s impossible to practice mindfulness all the time, it’s your intention, the noticing how you’re conducting your moments that is important. Let go of negative scripts; live consciously by accepting what is and enjoy the peace of being in The Now.


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