In a moment of stress, the last thing you may think to do is take a break and focus on the present moment. But a mindfulness technique that I’d like to share can help do exactly that and is something that has helped me overcome these moments. If you’d like to learn more, then keep reading…

What is “Mindfulness?”

If you’ve not heard of the term “mindfulness” before, then here’s a brief introduction:

I describe mindfulness as the act of being present and aware through gentle observation. It’s about slowing down to fully appreciate the moment you find yourself in.

There are a number of health benefits linked to practising mindfulness, with various sources of information linked toward the end of the post.

Caitlin – ofsocialcreatures.com

The Observation Technique:

This is purely a method to use for when you suddenly find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed rather than a way to prevent it from happening in the first place (although it can sometimes help change your perspectives if you practise regularly!)

Here is a step by step guide that I use when I find myself in these moments…

1. Stop what you’re doing

If you’re in the middle of crossing a road when feelings of stress arise, then it’s probably best to continue walking until you’ve crossed safely before completely stopping in your tracks. But, if you are in position to take a pause, then this is the first thing to do.

Stress can fill our heads with too many thoughts to tackle at once and so permitting yourself to slow down and put the breaks on, you can regain control.

2. Focus on the specific details of your surroundings

Take a look around you. It may be that you are in a familiar place, a room in your house perhaps. Really try to study the little details. Is there a plant nearby? Observe the colours and textures. Is there light coming in from a window? Look at the shadows it’s creating.

Don’t actively search out for things, or judge or critique, just use your eyes and observe your surroundings. You can really start to slow down time.

I find this incredibly helpful in temporarily separating myself from my thoughts and grounding me to the present moment once again. Continue doing this until you feel more relaxed and back in control.

3. Reflect

Now that you are feeling calm, consider what made you overwhelmed in the first place and how you will approach the problem/s. Sometimes it can simply be a build up of work or emotions, and a good walk is all that’s needed. If you do feel there are too many things to tackle at once, break them down into small chucks and limit how many to conquer each day.

Another important question to ask yourself is: “have I been feeling stressed very frequently?” If that is the case, never feel ashamed to seek professional advice (this is something I have done on a number of occasions!) and there will be links below to support you.

Extra Resources:

Guidance on Dealing with Stress:

Stress Page – nhs.uk

How to manage stress – mind.org

Mindfulness Further Reading:

“Mindfulness” Tag – ofsocialcreatures.com

22 Mindfulness Exercises, Techniques & Activities For Adults – positivepsychology.com

Final thoughts:

Exploring mindfulness has become an integral part of my life in improving my wellbeing over the last few months. There are so many techniques that I am still learning and look forward to sharing them with you in future posts!

I’ve started a documentary series called “Mindful Moments” (which you can read about here!) and so I would like to end this post on my first episode, in which I voice my own observations using this technique.

What’s on your mind?

How do you tackle feelings of stress? Have you practised mindfulness before? Leave a comment below!


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