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Sharp Health News

Mindfulness on the go

Oct. 25, 2018

Mindfulness on the go

In today's hectic world, it's easy to get caught up in our busy lives, and we may find ourselves feeling anxious, stressed and burned out.

"Having practices in place to find calmness in stressful situations is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle," says Luc Pelletier, a senior nursing specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. "Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine is key to helping you develop the ability to be calm, focused and present when you need it most."

Here are three easy, effective and proven ways to stay mindful throughout your day:

1. Adopt a mantram.

The silent repetition of a mantram (similar to a mantra) is a small but powerful tool, says Pelletier. A mantram is an utterance, sound, syllable, word or group of words that can be repeated to help you concentrate.

A mantram redirects your attention away from stressful situations, worries or negative feelings. This pause in attention allows you the time to choose how to respond to a stressful situation, giving you better control of your emotions.

"It's portable and a fantastic tool for people constantly on the go because it can be repeated silently at any time or any place and allows us to take a momentary 'break' from life," says Pelletier.

2. Slow down.

You may find yourself rushing through your day with frantic actions and thoughts. Eating meals quickly, finishing other people's sentences, feeling restless when having to sit still, and tailgating the car in front of you are all actions that may sound familiar to a busy person.

By slowing down, you give yourself the opportunity to find joy in the moment and notice small — and maybe otherwise overlooked — pleasant moments.

For example, here are ways to slow down while eating:

  • Block out time in your day to eat your meals.
  • Avoid looking at your phone, TV or computer while you eat.
  • Enjoy each bite by paying attention to the taste of the food, texture and smells.
  • Be grateful you have food and water to nourish and replenish your body.

3. Don't multitask.

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking actually harms your efficiency and mental health. Monotasking — giving one task your full attention — increases productivity, reduces mistakes, increases calmness and reduces stress.

Here are several ways to monotask in everyday life:

  • While at work, give your undivided attention to one project. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and during that time, focus only on that project. Do not check other emails or pick up the phone.
  • When doing chores at home, choose one chore to finish completely before beginning the next. This will increase your efficiency and help you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • While driving, turn down the music, don't check your phone and focus on the act of driving the car. It can reduce your stress and keep you safe.
"Trying too many things at once can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and increase anxiety," says Pelletier. "Tackling one task at a time will not only help you get things done, but it will also reduce your overall stress."

Luc Pelletier recently contributed a chapter on portable mindfulness practices for the book,
Healing With Spiritual Practices: Proven Techniques for Disorders From Addictions and Anxiety to Cancer and Chronic Pain.

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