Throughout the world, Mondays have made quite the reputation for themselves. For a lot of people, Mondays signify going back to the norm/work after a short stint of fun.
I always find my mind drifting to events that happened during the weekend, or tasks I wasn’t able to accomplish the previous week.
Most of the time this will result in feelings of sadness, anxiety, happiness, or extreme cases, anger. All of which hinder us from living our best lives when we overindulge.
Sitting with uncomfortable emotions is very difficult, especially when it seems like there is no way out, it feels like torture.
While the preferred reaction is usually to try and drown away the feelings, failure to acknowledge our emotions only makes them more intense and can further lead to poor physical and mental health.
To combat this I would point you back to an age-old tradition, a technique as old thinking itself, mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be described loosely as the practice of becoming self-aware in the present moment.
According to a New York-based meditation instructor Kirat Randhawa, “Mindfulness allows us to bring a healthy discernment into our everyday experience and identify the elements of our thought, speech, and behavior that lead to suffering and those that lead to freedom”.
Through this conscious process, we can strengthen those elements that cause happiness and reduce those that cause suffering, which over time results in a more enjoyed and aware living presence.
Today I’ll offer you 4 ideas that will hopefully introduce you to this never-ending mindfulness.
1. Set your Intentions as you start your Monday
Be it when you wake up or just after you get to work in the morning, set aside a few moments to collect yourself.
This will help you have a clear mind as you go into the rest of your day.
Collecting yourself can take various shapes and sizes so don’t be afraid to go through several activities to see which one you prefer.
If you notice that you’re more of a night owl than a morning person then you can always adjust this schedule to fit your afternoon time perfectly.
2. Taking Deep Breathes
Have you noticed that every time you become aware of your breathing it stops being automatic and it feels like you take control of it? Well, not really.
Our breathing carries a lot of information about the kind of headspace we are in at the moment.
Chances are, if you’re stressed or anxious your breath will be shallow, strained, and short. This can be changed easily by intentionally taking deep breaths with the help of the diaphragm.
This has been my go-to stress reliever for a long time and I hope it works for you too.
For me taking long breaths helps me calm down and brings me back to the present moment. Mostly this brings me back to my body and I can feel my environment through my senses
If you are looking to try this I recommend you use the five-count method. Breathe in deeply for five seconds and repeat this process four times.
3. Set alarms at random times of your Monday to remind yourself to be present
I think by now we have all accepted now that we won’t be present all the time, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t step out of our zones and be present a few moments daily.
A friend of mine informed me that he has three alarms set at different times of the day. The title of the alarms is usually ‘ask yourself those questions.
He informed me that these are questions that are intended to bring you back to the present reality. His questions included, and feel free to add your own by the way:
- What are you thinking about?
- Where are you?
- What are you doing?
Considering our attention spans, without an alarm this simple practice would easily be forgotten and thus the insistence on alarms.
The alarms almost shock you back to life. Especially on Monday this surely brings you back to the moment.
These three mindful practices are very important tools for stress management that are easy to implement while still being suitable for most occasions.
Incorporating one or two of them into your Monday routine will surely bring a change not only to your day but to your whole week.