I have a confession. I know that mindfulness is good for me but whenever I try listening to my Headspace app or sit still and try to focus on the moment, I usually end up falling asleep. Plus it takes a lot of effort to make myself do it in the first place.
Instead, I’ve found other ways to practice mindfulness that work for me.
Try a creative class
I actually replaced my mindfulness group with improv comedy classes a few years ago. I was learning a new activity, being sociable and improvising is all about being in the moment!
There are plenty of other types of classes that could work for you. Life drawing, Acting, Sewing… I’m sure there’s some more unusual ones, too! I’ve also tried Riso Printing and Singing. As long as it gets you out of your head and surrounded by people, it might help you to heal.
Learning a new skill and focusing on an activity is a great way to practice mindfulness.
Keep a journal
As someone who never kept a diary while young, this isn’t something I do on a regular basis. BUT when I do put pen to paper, I find that my thoughts just flow. I get them out of my head and start to make sense of them all. Sometimes, I notice things that I wouldn’t have, otherwise.
It works great when I’m feeling stressed, upset or overwhelmed and helps me focus on the thoughts running through my head.
Studies have shown a link between exercise and mental health. Even a 10 minute brisk walk can help elevate your mood which is great news for those of us who aren’t gym bunnies. (Ahem, me.)
Moving your body can help to relieve tension and put your focus on your movements here and now. Plus, there are so many different ways to get exercise, there is something for everyone. From gym classes (beginners and more experienced), dance, yoga, team sports, walks in the park, even extreme frisbee!
Get out of your bubble
I find that I can start to feel claustrophobic when I go through phases of being in the same place, all the time. For example, work, home and the same coffee shop or bars. It also tends to put my mind in autopilot mode too, because I’m seeing the same things over and over.
Day trips and traveling are great ways to combat this but not always realistic for everyone to do on a regular basis. But there are lots of other options.
Try going somewhere green – you don’t even need to travel far – it could even be a local park. How about an art gallery, museum or if those aren’t your thing, an amusement park? It’s all about going somewhere different, getting your brain out of autopilot mode and really noticing what’s around you.
Go to the theatre or the cinema
This is hugely effective for me. Not only am I immersed in what is happening on the stage or screen, but it also forces me to NOT look at my phone. It’s one of the rare occasions when I have to put it away.
This is one of my favorite ways to manage my anxiety – I’m focused on what’s happening in front of me, instead of worrying.
What activities do you do to manage your anxiety?
Don’t forget to listen to THIS episode of The Simplifiers Podcast where Mary talks to Uma Sanghvi about healing from anxiety.