Pictured: Calm & Centered Collection
Like it or not, stress is a part of life that you simply can’t avoid entirely—we all encounter difficult life events, stressful moments, and unexpected circumstances that steer us off course. But what you can do is create powerful habits like these three mindful activities that are quick, simple, and that can help to reduce the negative impacts of stress on your well-being:
1. Take a Walking Meditation
Sitting down on a cushion to meditate is great, but it’s not for everyone. Meditating while walking is a great alternative when you need to step out and stretch your legs. An “eyes open” meditation, instead of switching to autopilot and letting your mind swirl with thoughts, begin to notice your surroundings, take a few deep breaths, tune into the sensation of your movement, and give yourself a much-needed break from the busyness with a gentle, mindful stroll next time you’re out and about.
2. Extended Exhale Practice
Most of the breathing we do is completely out of our awareness—but breathing practiced with mindfulness is grounding, slows down your mind, reduces scattered thinking, and helps bring you into the present moment. Next time you have a work presentation, a difficult conversation to approach, a job interview, or any other time you need to hit “reset”, take one to two minutes of slow, intentional, mindful breathing.
Simply breath in for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four and then begin to extend your out breath by one extra count. Notice the stress start to release its grip, and feel free to use this secret weapon anytime and anywhere you need it.
3. Create a Tea Ritual
Creating a tea ritual is a powerful anchor to help remind you to slow down while bringing you out of your thoughts and into the present. There’s something ancient and wise about making your own tea ceremony—prepare your delicious brew without rushing, pour it slowly, sip it with thoughtfulness, and set aside one time each day to do this. Whether you enjoy this ritual first thing when you wake up, after lunch, or before bedtime—not only is it relaxing, it’s a reminder to savor life itself which, in turn, will help you regain focus and perspective.
Helping your body adapt to occasional stress—the stuff that comes our way daily whether we like it or not—means you can keep stress levels low and at a manageable level. Prevention is always the best measure when it comes to your health and we like to think of these activities as taking your daily “mindful medicine.”
Plus, the beauty of mindful moments like these is that you can easily incorporate them into your daily routine, they are highly portable, and require no equipment or special app to install. All that’s left to do is to pick one to try out and, with time, start to notice how it becomes a new mental muscle that you can flex anytime you’re faced with one of life’s many stressors.