By Zöe Kobrin
You’re probably familiar with the many benefits of mindfulness—most of us are—and most of us struggle to make practicing it a priority. One simple way to incorporate mindfulness in just 30 seconds to your daily life is the STOP technique:
- Stop what you’re doing and connect with yourself; try it when you’re in the middle of a stressful day. Stop and notice the people you see all the time; look at them with fresh eyes and really see them. Stop to notice something beautiful, or to express gratitude. Stop before eating and tune in to what your body needs.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths—in through your nose and out through your mouth. We often don’t realize how much tension we’re holding or how shallowly we’re breathing until we do this.
- Observe the thoughts and feelings that come up, without judgment—this doesn’t mean you won’t have judgments, but that you won’t judge yourself for having them. Feelings and thoughts aren’t right or wrong; they just are. And they can quickly sweep us into a frenzy or down-ward spiral. The beauty of mindfulness is that it empowers us to avoid these pitfalls by simply noticing, rather than engaging with, our thoughts.
- Proceed with a sense of mindful awareness. How often do we go through our days on autopilot? Practicing pausing, however briefly, allows you to move forward with a clearer sense of purpose, in alignment with your goals.
We don’t need large chunks of time to practice mindfulness; there’s tremendous power in sprinkling mindful moments throughout the day and slowly building from there. We can all find 30 seconds to a few minutes to pause—it’s just a matter of getting in the habit. You might want to try setting a few reminders in your phone or calendar that say STOP. Or, link the STOP practice to any daily rituals you already have, such as washing your hands, or getting that cup of tea. When we’re trying to develop a new habit, it’s often easier to add to something we already do regularly. Each day comes complete with 1,440 minutes of opportunities. Do your best to make more of them mindful, and don’t worry about doing this perfectly—it’s all good.
Wellness Foundation is pleased to present the first of four articles in our Wellness 360 Series. We believe in a full-circle approach to health; one that includes a plant-centric, whole foods diet, physical activity, mindfulness, and social connection. Since 2005, we’ve empowered tens of thousands of adults and children on the East End to take control of their health destinies and to live healthier, happier lives. To learn more about our programs, visit our website atwfeh.org or call our office: 631.329.2590