A poor economy, war, hurricanes, tornados and tsunamis, oil spills, family dysfunction and personal conflicts are only some of the reasons why you may feel stressed and overwhelmed. Focusing on the bad things in your life can negatively affect your thought process, drag you down physically and emotionally and interfere with your quality of life. In addition, unhealthy and/or self-destructive thoughts can influence how you view your life and your future – resulting in psychological distress, anxiety and/or depression.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a process that encourages you to take an in-depth look at yourself. This process promotes self-awareness and provides you with the tools that you need to reap both short-term and long-term rewards. Mindfulness teaches you how to look within yourself for the answers you seek, instead of turning to outside influences for those answers.
This process suggests that once you have gained a complete self-awareness then your inner confidence will shine through. This leads to interconnectedness between your inner self-awareness and your outer social self. Mindfulness not only helps you achieve self-awareness, it also helps you understand the world better so that you can reach your full potential in life.
How Can Mindfulness Strategies Help Me?
Mindfulness encourages you to focus on the present – not the past. It teaches you how to see things as they really are, not how they should be or how you want them to be. They also help you identify and understand how you really feel. This process teaches you how to be true to yourself, even if it means acknowledging that there are parts of yourself that need improvement. Mindfulness also teaches you how to process the situation before you respond to it. In other words, it teaches you how to respond to challenging or stressful situations in a healthy, positive way.
What Are Some Mindfulness Strategies?
A beneficial mindfulness strategy that can simulate your mind, awaken your imagination and motivate you to take the first step is visualizing
Take a minute to visualize your future by asking yourself these questions: Now that five years have passed - are you satisfied with your life? Have you accomplished your short-term and long-term goals? What parts of your life are you most happy about? What areas of your life need improvement
Once you have a clear picture of how you see your life in five years, write your thoughts down and refer to them when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, unsatisfied and/or out-of-control.
· Taking Several Deep Breaths
Taking several deep breaths is an effective mindfulness strategy that can help reduce your stress level, loosen your tight muscles, increase your self-awareness and help you focus. Go to a quiet room and take several deep breaths. Make sure that you breathe from your diaphragm instead of your upper chest and try to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. For this exercise to work, you must block out distractions and focus solely on your breathing. This mindfulness strategy is especially beneficial if you are upset, angry or stressed.
· Turning on the Radio
Turning on the radio and listening to music is another mindfulness strategy that has shown promise. In fact, music therapy has proven effective in treating people with a variety of psychological and physical conditions. Classical, instrumental, soft jazz and slow-tempo songs can calm your nerves when you are under pressure, upset, anxious and/or angry.
Turn the radio or your mp3 player on something that relaxes you (not something depressing or jarring) and focus on the notes, lyrics and beats. Let the music consume you and allow yourself to experience the emotions that arise in you while you listen to the songs. If you start to get distracted, refocus your attention or change the song and start all over again.
· Cleaning House
“Cleaning house” is another mindfulness strategy that has proven successful in reducing stress and encouraging self-awareness. “Cleaning house” has two meanings when it comes to your life. It can refer to actually cleaning your house or it can refer to getting rid of emotional baggage (friends, family, associates, jobs or situations that are distracting or emotionally and/or physically draining).
Removing unnecessary, negative and/or harmful distractions from your life can relieve your stress and help you focus on yourself and your future. Cleaning out the “clutter” in your life can break the emotional restraints that have been preventing you from reaching your full potential. Make a list of all of the “clutter” in your life and slowly remove them from your life.
Goldstein, E. (2010). Mindfulness strategies for anxiety and depression.Huff Post Healthy Living. Retrieved from
Queen’s University. (2013). Mindfulness-based stress reduction. Retrieved from