6 Small Ways to Practice Mindfulness Every Day

With midterms season upon UVM, feelings of stress and chaos can easily begin to flood your mind and affect your everyday life. Through balancing friendships, relationships, homework and classes, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself and slip into unhealthy habits that only make these negative feelings worse. This is where the importance of self-care comes in. Self-care is extremely important and is often pushed aside when life starts to get crazy.  Mindfulness is the practice of being present, and can allow you to feel in touch with yourself so that you can decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. While you may not feel like you have time for yourself with balancing all that life throws at you, acts of mindfulness can actually be done in under 10 minutes and still show significant effects on decreasing stress. So, if you can sacrifice that extra 10 minutes on Instagram for one of these simple tips instead, you may find yourself in a stronger, more positive and balanced headspace as you take on this semester. 


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1. Practice Gratitude 

One simple way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine is to practice gratitude. This can be done through journaling, speaking or simply thinking of five things you are grateful for in that moment. Take 10 minutes to either write, say or think of these things. They can be as small as your cup of coffee you had on the way to class, or much larger, like your college education. When you replace negative thoughts with thoughts of gratitude, you will begin to notice more positivity in your everyday life. 


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2. Go For a Walk 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, taking 10 minutes to switch up your environment and going for a walk outside can be extremely beneficial for your mental and physical health. Ideally, you should leave your phone behind and use this time outdoors to be present with yourself. Even just a physical change in environment can refresh your mind and leave you feeling recharged and happier.


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3. Drink Some Tea 

Instead of scrolling through Twitter before bed, or getting lost in your favorite Netflix series and falling asleep with the laptop on your chest, choose to unplug for 10 minutes and make yourself some tea. Put the electronics down, choose a calming tea like chamomile or ginger and reflect on your day. As you drink your tea, you can simply give your mind a rest, or if you’re up for it, write down some things you are grateful for! 


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4. Wake Up, Don't Text 

When your phone alarm goes off in the morning, instead of turning it off with a feeling of dread and clicking straight to your messages or social media, put it down. Switch off your alarm, grab a glass of water and allow 10 minutes for your mind to wake up naturally. Take deep breaths and think reassuring thoughts to get your day started in a more centered mindset. 


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5. Breathe

While we are always breathing, it is an act that we can easily forget about. Multiple studies have shown that taking just a few minutes to breathe mindfully can be extremely beneficial to your overall well-being. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, sit up straight and focus on your breath. Inhale, exhale, and repeat. This is the simplest way to practice mindfulness, since you do not need anything but yourself to do so. Giving yourself this time to pause and just breathe is a beautiful form of self-love. 


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6. Be Present 

Being present is so important. In today’s world and in campus culture, there is so much going on—not only in front of you, but also in the online world. It is so easy to forget to be present. Dreading an upcoming exam, dwelling on an awkward encounter you had with your crush, overthinking and worrying about the world around you. Being present is so important, because it puts these feelings into perspective, and allows you to only focus on your purpose in the present moment. So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself, “What is my purpose in this moment?” Whether it is emailing your professor, or simply brushing your teeth, living completely in the moment for a few minutes can alleviate stress and put things into perspective.


So, as you continue to settle into your college routine, make sure to not leave yourself behind. Taking care of yourself is so important, and with these simple acts of mindfulness, you will be off to your strongest semester yet!