Upgrade Your Daily Routine with 4 MBSR Techniques for a Mindful and Productive Day
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of work, responsibilities, and deadlines.
With so much going on, we often go from zero to one hundred and feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and burned out by the end of a day.
There are ways to upgrade your daily routine and transform it from a basic, mundane routine to a more mindful one. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings, and accepting them without judgment.
I took a few days out last week. It was the first time in almost 2 years I took a break without the children. I had a couple of purposes for the trip, the first being I wanted to actually have time to think straight and process, the other was to create time and space to learn in deep about my mindfulness practices. When I go deep for a few days, they help me to recalibrate and reset, and with Bealtaine and summer just around the corner, I wanted to be ready for that. I also wanted to test which mbsr techniques really resonated and added value for me, so here are some of the ones I found most effective this week.
Body Scan Mediation
This is one I should, we should all do at different points during the day and we forget. We are too busy and it can be one of the most informative practices and habits we do in a day.
The body scan is a mindfulness meditation technique that involves bringing awareness to different parts of the body. This practice can help you become more in tune with your physical sensations and reduce tension and stress and improve the quality of your sleep.
To practice the body scan technique, find a comfortable seated or lying down position. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath. Slowly scan your body from head to toe, noticing any sensations or discomfort. As you become aware of these sensations, allow them to be present without trying to change them or react to them.
This awareness can help you release tension and stress and promote relaxation, which in turn can lead to better sleep quality and a more rested state of mind and body. For me it is useful if I have ben sitting at a desk for a long time and I get up to stretch, or after a day walking and exploring when you rest it allows you to identify any niggles, or after tricky conversations, what does your body feel like now.
Here is a simple script for you to read and follow as you do your own body scan meditation :
“As I begin my body scan, I bring my attention to the top of my head and notice any sensations that I feel in this area. I then move my attention down to my forehead and notice any sensations of tension or relaxation in this area. As I move my attention down my body, I take a moment to relax each area and release any tension.
As I focus on my shoulders, I notice any sensations of tightness or discomfort and allow my shoulders to relax and release any tension. I then move my attention down to my chest and notice the rise and fall of my breath. As I focus on my abdomen, I take a deep breath and allow my belly to expand with the inhale and contract with the exhale.
I continue to move my attention down to my legs and notice any sensations of heaviness or lightness. I allow my legs to relax and release any tension. Finally, I bring my attention to my feet and notice any sensations of warmth or coolness in this area.
Throughout the body scan, I focus on each part of my body, bringing my attention to physical sensations, without judgment or interpretation. The purpose of this practice is to increase my awareness of my body, release tension, and promote relaxation and overall well-being.”
Mindful breathing is a technique that involves paying attention to the sensations of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. This practice can help you feel more grounded and centered, and reduce feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. It can also help increase focus and concentration.
To practice mindful breathing, find a comfortable seated position. Take a few deep breaths and then begin to focus on your breath. Notice the sensation of the breath moving in and out of your body. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Counted breaths: In this technique, you count your inhales and exhales to help focus your mind on your breath. Start by inhaling deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of two, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of six. Repeat this cycle several times, counting each inhale and exhale, and allow yourself to fully focus on each breath.
Box breathing: This technique involves breathing in for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and holding the breath out for a count of four. The visual of imagining a square as you do this can be helpful in keeping your breaths slow and steady.
Belly breathing: Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, this technique involves breathing deeply into your belly, rather than just your chest. To do this, inhale through your nose and focus on expanding your belly as you breathe in. Then, exhale slowly through your nose and allow your belly to deflate. This technique can help reduce stress and tension in the body.
Alternate nostril breathing: This technique involves using your fingers to alternate which nostril you breathe through. Start by using your right hand to close off your right nostril with your thumb, then inhale deeply through your left nostril. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then use your ring finger to close off your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat this cycle several times, alternating which nostril you inhale and exhale through.
Overall, mindful breathing techniques can help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase focus and concentration.
Loving - Kindness Meditation
Loving-kindness meditation is a practice that involves cultivating feelings of compassion and goodwill towards yourself and others. This practice can help increase feelings of happiness and reduce negative self-talk. I genuinely use this so often for me but also if I need to cancel any negative vibes towards some one else, I offer this to them instead. It helps, I promise.
To practice loving-kindness meditation, find a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and imagine yourself surrounded by people you love and who love you.
Begin to repeat phrases of goodwill towards yourself and others, such as
“May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be at peace.”
Repeat these phrases silently to yourself for a few minutes.
Walking meditation is a technique that can help you increase feelings of calm and reduce feelings of stress.
By bringing mindfulness to the act of walking, you are more present in the moment and can become more aware of your surroundings. This can help you feel more grounded and centred and can help reduce feelings of anxiety or overwhelmed. Walking meditation can also provide a gentle form of exercise and help increase physical activity levels, leading to improved physical and mental health.
I have struggled with this one over time. Its funny, my mindset has been programmed so badly over the years that I have an inner belief system which tells me if I am dedicating the time to exercising, then it should be some form of calorie burning, cardio, high-intensity movement. Walking as meditation was (sometimes still is ) too slow-paced for me. Instead of getting any benefit, I tend to get frustrated and agitated by the fact that “someone,” i.e. me, is telling me I have to walk this slowly. This one is my personal challenge at the moment. On the days I can’t master it fully, I go to the place of acceptance and say “AND THATS OK” and I think how can I get value? So I walk at a faster pace, I don’t count my steps or watch my feet but instead, I watch, notice and observe nature and this always makes it better.
I would love for you to give it a try and see how you get one. Most people really do love the walking mediations.
Here is an example script for a walking meditation:
“As I begin my walking meditation, I stand tall with my feet hip-width apart and my arms relaxed at my sides. I take a deep breath in through my nose, feeling my chest and belly expand, and exhale slowly through my mouth, feeling my body release any tension.
As I begin to walk, I focus on the sensation of my feet touching the ground. With each step, I bring my attention to the physical sensations of my body moving through space. I feel the muscles in my legs and feet working as I lift each foot and place it down.
As I continue to walk, I focus on my breath, taking deep inhales and exhales. I allow my breath to guide my steps, syncing my movement with my breath. If my mind begins to wander, I gently bring my attention back to my breath and my steps.
As I walk, I take in my surroundings with a sense of curiosity and wonder. I notice the colors of the trees and the sky, the sounds of birds chirping, and the feel of the sun or wind on my skin.
With each step, I allow myself to let go of any worries or distractions. I focus on being present in the moment and enjoying the simple act of walking.
As I come to the end of my walking meditation, I take a moment to pause and appreciate the peace and stillness within me. I take a final deep breath and bring my attention back to the present moment, feeling grounded and centered.”
I hope these mindful based stress reduction techniques help you today. Let me know what your strategies are.