Editor’s note: The following article was contributed by Marine Corps Community Services. The content may be edited for clarity, style and length. Find more at http://www.usmc-mccs.org/.
Are you tired of the daily grind? You do not have to let stress and negative thoughts dominate your life. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed or that you can’t possibly get through another challenging day, but you can. The trick is mindfulness.
“Mindfulness” is purposefully paying attention to the present moment in everyday life. This means deliberately focusing on your activities, thoughts and feelings. Research shows that mindfulness can reduce stress over time and increase resiliency. It can also help us recover from physical injuries, stay calmer in the midst of stress or difficult family discussions and keep focused at work. Mindfulness techniques are also incorporated into practices that prevent and address thoughts of suicide.
Mindfulness is an intentional effort to change your perspective and be consciously aware of the present moment. It is not giving your past circumstances more attention than your present activities.
Follow these five steps to get start practicing mindfulness today:
- Don’t give negative thoughts more than 5 or 10 minutes of attention.
- Focus on the positive. This could be a new job, a good book or a great hike you’ve enjoyed recently.
- Change your activities. This could be as simple as moving from one room in the house to another. When you find yourself starting to think negatively, start washing the dishes or put a load of laundry in the washing machine. The idea is to remove yourself from the location where your negative thoughts occurred.
- Go for a walk. Nature walks are really great at defusing heightened reactions from a memory of your past.
- Talk to someone. Sometimes simply sharing your worries with another person can help you feel better. A trusted friend can provide support and help you focus on the present.