By Ocean Noah
Life can be overwhelming.
There are times when you may be sad and prefer to stay in bed for days on end. There are times when you feel anxious because of an impossible list of responsibilities hanging over your head.
Some days you may experience intense emotions and other days you might feel numb.
I experience mood swings regularly. Sometimes I absolutely love my life, and I’m content with where I live and what I do. Other times, I feel profound emptiness. I feel depressed and hopeless. Part of me yearns to go outside to a place I love so that I can just feel happy again, but my body feels too heavy and I have little motivation to go out.
I used to react to these mood swings with fear – with an urge to hurry up and feel better. But, I have now learned to give myself permission to experience the mood swings rather than fight them. I am compassionate with myself instead of beating myself up for feeling sad. This is what mindfulness does for you. By being mindful, you learn to observe your feelings and give yourself the compassion you deserve.
If you’re struggling with finding a way to keep your emotions steady and accept who you are, it’s time for you to implement these 5 tips for a mindful makeover. Take a look:
How often do you get to unpack your thoughts and experiences? I’ll give you a hint: very rarely.
When you’re talking to friends, family, or loved ones, you’re likely filtering your thoughts so that you say things that are relevant and kind. If you’re writing an article or a blog post about yourself, you’re filtering your words in the same way. Even if you’re processing things with a therapist, your time is limited and you have to filter your thoughts and feelings there, too.
The point is: You typically do not have the time or space to unpack your thoughts and feelings freely.
But you can give that gift back to yourself with journaling!
Even if it’s only for one hour once a week, free writing is a powerful way to reflect and process your life. So, grab a notebook or diary and start writing!
2. Try new things
Do you go to the same Starbucks for your coffee? Do you go to the same grocery store and buy the same exact milk when you go there?
There are so many simple routines we build for ourselves that we don’t even think about. They’re convenient and comfortable.
Try breaking one of those routines this week! Go to a different coffee shop, buy a new kind of milk, or talk to a new person at a yoga class. Changing up your routines or small details of your environment can bring a fresh awareness to your day. You will be more present than you usually would with feelings of curiosity – and maybe even a little excitement.
3. Ground yourself with your surroundings
I live in San Francisco. Every Tuesday at 12 pm, a drill alarm test is scheduled to go off. Every time it does, I am immediately grounded. It makes me focus on the day of the week and time of day. And then I look around to see that everyone around me is sharing the exact same moment with me – no matter who they are or where they’re from. That alarm helps me remember that I am a part of something bigger than myself and whatever task I was doing the moment before.
You can use your surroundings to feel present like this too. If you’re sitting in your car, focus on the stoplight when it’s red. Does it look old or new? What is the street name? Make up a story for the name of the street.
Focusing on small details in passing is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. When I find myself lost in my emotions, I use this technique to come back to the world around me. I come back to the present moment. And that’s all there ever really is.
4. Eat with intent
Food is fuel for your body just like gas is fuel for your car. So, it’s important to eat food that will give you the strength to do all of the amazing things you do every day!
Take the time – even if only one hour – to cook a nutritious meal for yourself. Take deep breaths as you chop vegetables. Let your thoughts flow as you wait for water to boil or the oven to preheat. As you are eating, chew intently before you swallow. Think about the flavors you’re tasting. Eating and cooking with mindfulness will make the experience much more enjoyable.
5. Practice or Teach Yoga
We can’t talk about mindfulness without mentioning yoga! Yoga is a form of exercise that encourages mindfulness. If you teach yoga, leading a class will give you time to do yoga with even more intent than usual because you are teaching this ancient practice to others. If you don’t teach yoga, don’t fret. You can learn to teach kids yoga right now with our online Pretzel Kids Yoga Teacher Certification Course. We also offer a course specifically for teaching kids mindfulness. Of course, you don’t have to teach yoga to experience the practice of mindfulness. Taking a yoga class yourself will allow you to focus more on yourself and your journey.
You can be mindful anywhere
Mindfulness is an easy and accessible tool to manage difficult emotions and to ground yourself. You can use it in line at the grocery store, out in nature, or in your own bedroom. You can find a new appreciation for and a deeper connection to your everyday surroundings.
Try using one of these 5 mindfulness tips this week. Or, try using them all this month! And if you want to learn to teach mindfulness or learn to teach kids yoga, check out the Pretzel Kids yoga online courses.