Five Ways to Practice Mindfulness with Your Thoughts

Worries, anxieties, and general stress can consume our minds, impacting our overall health. Whether we are worrying about the future or preoccupied with our past, connecting with our present surroundings using mindfulness can reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Mindfulness means being aware of your feelings, thoughts, and all five of your senses. It also means staying in the moment and focusing on how you feel in the here and now, rather than dwelling on something else. Mindfulness-based stress reduction can relieve everyday stressors and should be practiced every day. 

Here are five easy and accessible ways to practice mindfulness with your thoughts to reduce stress. 

Gratitude 

Thinking of all the positives in your life and how grateful you are for them can push the negative thoughts away, at least for a moment. Allowing yourself to feel gratitude for what you have can be a forceful and powerful way to push positive thoughts to the forefront of the mind. Thinking so positively about your present will enable you to curate a more thoughtful and positive future and can reduce any initial stress that has weighed you down.

Breathing

Mindfulness-based stress reduction can be particularly impactful when we stop and focus on our own breathing. Because breathing is so instinctual, you may not notice how daily worries and negative thoughts can bleed into how we breathe. To stop what you’re doing and focus on the breaths you are currently taking; you can assess if your breaths are shallow or deep. 

Once you focus on your breathing, you should practice helpful breathing techniques by inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for five seconds after. Repeat however many times you want until you feel more relaxed.

Setting daily intentions

When you wake up, you should set intentions for the day to help you focus on who you are in the moment and who you want to be in the future. These intentions can consist of any personal goal you want to achieve for yourself or for others around you. These mindfulness-based intentions can include practicing self-care for the day, exuding compassion to others, pursuing your passions, or anything that you think will help better yourself and make you feel good. 

Observe your own thoughts

Throughout the day, you can practice mindfulness by stepping back and observing your own thoughts. Understand how your thought processes can fester into negative thinking when you stop and observe. Further, by using this mindfulness method, you can distance your feelings from your current thoughts, where you can easily let them go before they begin to stress you out. Throughout the day, you can practice mindfulness by stepping back and observing your own thoughts.

Understand how your thought processes can fester into negative thinking when you stop and observe. Further, by using this mindfulness method, you can distance your feelings from your current thoughts, where you can easily let them go before they begin to stress you out. 

Check-in with yourself and your body

On a daily occasion, you should take a break from whatever you’re doing and check-in with yourself and your body. Connect with your five senses, forcing yourself to react to the present. Make mental notes of what you smell, hear, touch, see, and taste to bring back to the here and now. And when you check in with your body and feel any underlying aches, ask yourself if you’re holding any tensions that need to be released. 

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