As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, be sure to always keep your mental state at the forefront of your mind. Don’t let the month of May be the only time you check-in with yourself to understand how you feel mentally. Checking-in with yourself should be a daily action to ensure you are constantly striving to be the best version of yourself you know you can be.
This daily check-in can provide the grounding you need to help cultivate the patience within ourselves needed in our distracted and always-on digital lifestyle. Our day is filled with numerous emotions— the ups, downs, frustrations and successes. Not to mention that our minds are constantly worrying about the future or regretting the past. Researchers call this the “monkey mind.” It’s the constant chattery never-ending voice in the back of our head that seems never to be quiet. It constantly ruminates over our fears, worries and stressors.
Here is a perfect example that I am sure that many of you have experienced.
Have you ever found yourself driving your car when your mind begins to wonder and you can’t quite remember a portion of the trip you just made? Yep, that’s your mind on autopilot! This happens more times throughout the day than you probably realize—while you’re at work; at the gym; and even in the middle of a conversation with someone. On top of that, our minds are constantly being pulled in so many different directions from notifications, social media feeds and email alerts.
In fact, a recent Harvard study found that a wandering mind is considered an unhappy mind. During the study, an iPhone app was used that pinged participants at random times throughout the day to understand what they are thinking about. The study concluded that 50 percent of the time participants’ minds wandered from their current task; plus when their minds were roaming, they were significantly less happy.
Without realizing, it can almost seem like we never really have the opportunity to truly enjoy and experience the present moment. Life is happening all around us but our daily lifestyles and uncontrolled minds are so distracted that we easily miss the precious moments of life that allow us to truly experience the gift of living. The gift of living is found in living fully in the present. To live in the present, we must practice a set of habits to counter our distracted lifestyles.
Every time you feel anxious, stressed or your mind begins to wander, you must develop the habit of pulling it back under your control. Now, this doesn’t mean having complete control over your thoughts— it means being able to put yourself back in the driver’s seat and to become aware of your thoughts. Once you are aware of what you are thinking about, you are in a position to choose thoughts or actions that will support your goals, habits and mental wellbeing.
One of the best ways to make this practice a habit is by implementing a daily meditation routine. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to help quiet our chattery brains and obtain more self-awareness over our thoughts. Using apps like Calm or Headspace is a great place to start. Ten minutes a day in the morning before your day starts is one of the best ways to set your day up for success. Once you begin to implement this habit, you will begin to see changes in your focus, mood levels and even patience within yourself.
Your mental health should be a priority every single day. Bring yourself back to the present by implementing the habit of mindfulness.
Positively Caviar, Inc. (PCI) is a grassroots nonprofit organization focused on instilling mental resilience by way of positive thinking and optimism. Each month, a member of the Nucleus Team features a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts, and stories that are positive in nature to support a positive and healthy lifestyle. To learn more about how you can support, volunteer or donate to Positively Caviar, Inc. visit: staybasedandpositive.com