Daily life is often full of constant noise and doing. From traffic and car alarms, to television and music, to the constant ring of phones and notifications, and always having something to occupy our attention. We sometimes get stuck in a pattern of always being on the go, from one thing to the next, without taking a moment to just be. Even if we find some time to ourselves, it can be hard to not think about work or school, things we have to get done in our personal lives, or any challenges we are going through. So what can we do to change this? To start, we can practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness involves being in the present moment, on purpose, and without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can be helpful for many things such as sleep problems, managing stress and anxiety, focusing, and building self-compassion and acceptance. Mindfulness practice helps get us out of our heads and back into the moment. It helps us reconnect with ourselves and is often calming, relaxing, and freeing.

Sound like something you want to try? Here’s a mindful breathing exercise to get you started: 

YouTube: https://youtu.be/3_EJHTIoqFU 

Audio: https://www.drjenniferpiper.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Mindful-Breathing-Session.mp3 

I like this exercise because of its simplicity and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Also, it is often easier for those with social anxiety or perfectionism to feel more relaxed because you are not trying to breathe a certain way. It’s not about completely clearing your mind. Instead actively focus on your breath, catch yourself when you get distracted, and re-focus again. The non-judgment part is often the hardest. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness and it is expected your mind will wander. Just notice when it happens and re-focus. Practicing regularly, taking a few minutes out of your day to do the exercise, can be helpful. Often the more you practice, the easier it is to stay focused on your breathing and use during times of stress.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness and you may find certain activities you prefer over others. If you liked this exercise or want to learn more, you can find additional resources on my website: https://www.drjenniferpiper.com/resources/general-wellness-mental-health-resources/.

Author: Jennifer Piper

I am a licensed psychologist in San Diego, CA currently accepting new clients. I specialize in social anxiety and frequently work with individuals who feel stuck to identify underlying factors contributing to their current difficulties. Additionally, I work with individuals who have a variety of concerns including stress, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship issues, grief, sleep/insomnia, life transitions, and issues common to university students and young adults.