How to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life
What does it mean to be mindful? It means to be aware, present, or in the moment of what is happening here and now. Spending too much time worrying about what we have planned tomorrow, next week, or even next month can cause us to worry – and we know that worrying can lead to stress and unhappiness! It is easy to forget that incorporating mindfulness into our every day lives isn’t a hard task at all.
We all have a morning routine that we feel actually helps us get through the day; I know that I wake up at the same time so that I can ensure I get my morning coffee, breakfast and shower in before it’s time to make my commute to work or school.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives is to take ourselves off of autopilot and actually take the time to think about what we are doing. Instead of moving from one task to the next, think about the flavors of what you’re eating and take the time to savor the taste. In addition, when waking up, take time to sit and be with yourself before you check your phone, email, or the news – you’ll feel more at one with yourself and everyone knows that waking up feeling good can set you up for a positive day!
Don’t forget that when it comes to being mindful you don’t need to set aside a large amount of time to relax. It may not be realistic for you to block out a couple of hours for a massage, yoga class, or meditation space; that’s why incorporating mindfulness into each day as a way of life will help you to feel more relaxed and fulfilled overall. Sometimes it can be more effective if you take multiple breaks to take in your surroundings and practice gratitude. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for – throughout the day take maybe 5 minutes and choose something from that list to think about- you’ll feel much more at peace.
Lastly- laugh. It’s good for you and for those around you. Everyone enjoys laughing.
In a perfect world we would all be carefree, enjoy life around us, and be all-around happy people. Unfortunately, we are busy and can let our hectic, on-the-go lives consume us. When we become so absorbed with juggling all of our priorities – work, family, friends, school – it can become a bit too much and we begin to stress ourselves out and carry all of that weight on our shoulders.
While there are known “good stressors” that we can feel while doing things like planning a wedding or running a marathon- it’s the negative stressors that we feel that can cause sleepless nights, upset stomachs, or angry outbursts. Lucky for us we have massage therapists who knead and stretch us into relaxation.
Did you know that in addition to your massage therapist loosening your sore muscles, they are also helping to lower your stress levels? A massage can help increase the circulation of your blood flow and lower your heart rate. Why would you ever want to take an anti-anxiety medicine again when you can get a massage instead? Setting aside time for regular massage sessions on a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly basis is a step in the right direction towards maintaining lower stress levels. And if you aren’t able to afford massage on a regular basis, make sure to set aside some regular time to do other stress reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or even setting aside some white space in your schedule to read a book. All of these activities should not be looked at as luxuries- when honored on a regular basis and treated as a priority, they will actually help you to become more grounded, efficient, and productive in all other aspects of your life.
Instead of looking at your next massage as a “spa day” or a way to “treat yourself”, look at it as taking a step into a new and healthier you – your body will thank you.
I’m not typically a fan of rougher massages – I can do a firm Swedish massage at most. There are times though where you just know you have to go for the results rather than relaxation. Due to a reoccurring injury, I frequently suffer from neck and back pain that a Swedish massage unfortunately just can’t help with. I woke up on Tuesday with a little bit of neck pain and by Thursday, I could barely turn because the pain had spread to my back. That’s where Thai massage came in. I had never received a Traditional Thai massage before, so I was a little unsure about the strength level but definitely excited about the stretching.
The Thai massage is very interactive, and while you can receive softer pressure, I knew that a stronger massage would work out best. The therapist immediately found my knots and began working on them. After what felt like 30 minutes of massage, my therapist began the stretching and it was such an amazing feeling. Someone once described a Thai massage as “assisted yoga” to me, but in my opinion this was even better; This was someone helping me mold my body back into the condition that it once was. I was a little worried about being overstretched (as if there is such a thing)- or that my neck was going to crack in the wrong way, but I was so pleased with how I felt when I left my massage. The greatest thing about my Thai massage is that the following days I could feel the pain in my back going away little by little. By the third day after my massage I couldn’t feel the pain anymore.
A traditional Thai massage hits a lot of pressure points and energy lines of the body, so I felt relaxed throughout my massage but re-energized as well afterwards. It can also help to increase flexibility and improve your range of motion so I would recommend this massage for anyone who is feeling a bit of body stiffness. If you’re feeling skeptical about trying a massage that is described as interactive, I would say to push that thought out of your mind and give a Thai massage a chance. As much as I love Swedish massages, I can’t imagine not doing a Thai massage again.