Accumulating evidence suggests mindfulness, or attentional skills training centered on the present moment, fosters resilience in educators and may promote healthy students, classrooms and workplaces. When working with faculty we often hear “time” is the critical factor in engaging in a number of health-promoting behaviors including proper nutrition, physical activity, sleep and relationships. While mindfulness is not a panacea, even informal practice of mindfulness-based strategies and techniques confers health benefits.
So where to start? Below is a list of several simple informal practices many people employ throughout their busy day-to-day lives to imbibe their day with mindful qualities:
- Breathe – even 2-3 deliberate breaths throughout the day or while you are moving from one activity to another aids in, however briefly, bringing us to the present moment; stilling and relaxing our minds.
- Move – While it has been said modern conveniences foster sedentarism in epidemic proportions, the time we do spend moving throughout the day provides opportunity for us to focus on sensations in the body as get from one place to the next.
- Eat – Paying attention to our food choices in no easy task, especially when we sometimes relegate meals to in front of a screen. Even a few deliberate mouthfuls or sips fosters a greater awareness of our relationship to food in front of us that moment.
- Sleep – Many of us, in meeting the daily challenges that face us, are sleep-deprived. Taking time for restorative moments throughout the day and simple preparations for sleep can have profound impact on our sleep quality and health.
- Compassion – given the pace of our lives our relationships often suffer most. Fostering a compassionate attitude towards ourselves and those around us aids in our ease and ability to work with the challenges we collectively face.
These simple practices are meant to be done simply, as appropriate, at any time and in any place. Paying mindful attention in these areas may shift our habitual responses and is a primary benefit of contemporary mindfulness practice.
If you are interested in practicing mindfulness check out our METAL program.
Article by: Michael Mackenzie, assistant professor Behavioral Health & Nutrition.