How to Reduce Stress Instantly – 5 (easy) Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Day to Relax and De-stress

Stress is the number one contributor to many illnesses, linked to chronic inflammation,heart disease, and obesity.

Unfortunately, in modern society, it is difficult to avoid in day-to-day experiences.

Person experiencing stress, holding their head.
Stress is a contribute to many diseases – Photo by Matteo Vistocco

To combat this, the practice of mindfulness is being used to relax the mind and reduce stress levels significantly.

And lucky for us, there are simple ways to incorporate mindfulness in our hectic days.

Keep reading to find out what mindfulness is, how it can reduce stress, and the 5 easiest ways to add it to your day!

What is Stress

Stress is a biological, physical response to external conditions.

Emotionally, it includes feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.

In the body, this is related to a rise in cortisol levels, the stress hormone. It’s like an alarm system in the body, controlling mood, fear, and motivation.

Within the normal range, it can help regulate the body, however, high or constant levels can lead to anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestion problems, weight gain, insomnia, headaches, and much more.

What is Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply giving attention to the present moment. 

You are aware of what you are doing, allowing thoughts or feelings to come without distraction or judgment.

Sounds very zen right?

But what is stress but worrying either about something that happened in the past, or something that may happen in the future?

Being able to fully engage in the present moment can help give you a sense of control and satisfaction. Grounding yourself in the present can help accept yourself, your circumstances, and your emotions.

How Does Mindfulness Reduce Stress

Mindfulness reduces negative, random, or intrusive thoughts.

Directing attention away from habits of worrying and harmful thoughts can help cultivate a different emotional and physical state in the body.

In mindfulness, breathing tends to deepen, which leads to an activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the body responsible for relaxing and reducing fight or flight reactions.

Evidence indicates that various conditions can be improved with mindful practice, including stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia, and heart disease.

Mindfulness can be paired with breathing exercises or meditation, however, the ones discussed here are simple yet effective mindful moments anyone can include.

Mindfulness can be as easy as savoring your meal – Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes

5 Easy Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness in Your Day

Here are five simple, easy, and effective ways to be more mindful!

1. When You Wake Up

When you first wake up in bed, hit that snooze button to give you five more minutes, but don’t sleep.

Instead, concentrate on what you feel. Don’t grab your phone and start browsing social media, not yet.

Give yourself time to simply be.

Feel the bed under your body, the pillow under your head, the sheets on your body.

Ask yourself, do you feel rested? Comfortable? 

Now get up and start your day with a clear head and open heart.

2. While You Eat or Drink

Pay attention whenever you eat or drink something.

Take time to truly enjoy the food you’re eating, think of how it will give you energy and nutrition.

When you drink something, focus only on that; the taste, the temperature, how it feels.

This allows you to slow down and notice more in your busy or hectic day.

3. When You Walk or Drive Somewhere

While you’re on your way to a destination, try to be mindful of the journey. Many of us are on autopilot when going to work.

This time, take note of the path you take, what you see, hear, and feel.

If you’re walking somewhere, try for a mindful walk/ moving meditation. Be aware of the sensation of moving your legs, of keeping your balance as you move.

Maintain awareness of the sensations around you, if there’s sun warming you feel the warmth, if there are clouds, enjoy the shade.

Notice what you see, hear, feel, and smell.

4. While You Wait

Chances are, even with a busy day, there will be lulls; waiting for the elevator, for a meeting, for the bus, etc.

During this time, check in with yourself; how do you feel, what are you thinking?

If you want, do a quick full-body scan, focusing attention on everything from your toes to your head. 

Take note of every part of your body; are you holding tension somewhere? Try to relax your muscles as you go.

5. While You Brush Your Teeth

The day is either starting or it is over.

While you brush your teeth, be present in the moment.

Simply breathe and relax, enjoying the act of caring for your body.

The Takeaway

Stress is something everyone deals with, but there are simple and easy ways to manage it.

Easy mindfulness can lead to a healthier happier life overall by reducing negative thoughts and emotions.

It can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and risk of many illnesses such as heart disease.

Coupled with breathing, meditation, and exercise, a healthy life is within everyone’s reach, one day at a time.

Remember, health starts from within.

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