How to Choose the Best Mindfulness Technique Based on Your Stressors
Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately? Have you noticed emotional shifts? If so, mindfulness techniques can help you find equilibrium. This practice also allows you to better assess your moods and what triggers them while simultaneously reminding you that there is so much to be grateful for. To help you determine which technique is best for your particular set of stressors, we chatted with two experts in the field who shared their insights.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Those who practice mindfulness daily know that it works. "The most important benefit of mindfulness that most people aren't fully aware of is that it connects you to you," explains mindset and manifestation coach Nicole Stillings, the creator of the Big Queen Energy podcast. "It is the best process for unraveling the intricacies of who your inner being has evolved into and closing the gap between that person and the person you are operating as in the physical world—bringing your physical body and your energetic body closer to one unified being." In other words, mindfulness is the key to spiritual alignment. "When we can quiet the mind to receive messages, we can cultivate deep clarity, incredible wisdom, intense inner healing, and more," she adds.
While some might think that energy talk is misguided, Stillings reminds us that our thoughts create our emotions and energy, which directly impact how we act in the real world. According to a spokesperson from Calm, mindfulness has science-backed positive effects on our mental health, including reduced stress, increased happiness, improved focus, and stronger resilience through challenging times: "It can benefit our physical health, too, by reducing high blood pressure and chronic pain and improving our immune systems." So, the real question is, how can we incorporate more mindfulness into our lives and which method is best?
Mindfulness is not a one-size-fits-all practice; it can take many forms, so it's important to find the method that works best for you and make it a daily habit. Guided meditation is one of the most popular types. Led by a teacher or coach, these sessions can be enjoyed in person, on retreats, or from the comfort of your own home thanks to apps like Calm, Headspace, and Core. "Guided meditations are beneficial for those new to meditation and experienced meditators, and helps people have a more focused mind, find relaxation, and live a happier life," notes the Calm insider, adding that there are guided meditations for all skill levels. As for the specific benefits of meditation, guided or otherwise? Stillings says that the practice is improves intuition, focus, self-awareness, and emotional regulation; it's best for those who have difficulty quieting their minds of concentrating on one task at a time. "Meditation has been proven to improve physical health and decrease anxiety," she adds.
Another technique to try is manifestation, which helps you understand that your "internal environment dictates your external life," says Stillings, and puts you "back in the driver's seat." "Personal responsibility breeds self-empowerment so your awareness of this concept creates more mindfulness in your life." Manifestation can be as simple as jotting down your 10-year goals every morning as if they have already happened, making it a great technique for those who stress over the future.
That's right—journaling is a form of mindfulness that can "relieve anxiety, help you work through problems, and access more clarity," Stillings shares. "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different journaling techniques. Different strategies work for different people." Whatever strategy you employ—whether it is doodling, bullet journaling, or stream of consciousness—journaling is worthwhile: It can increase neuroplasticity in our brains, which means that the very practice will make forming new connections easier, adds Stillings. It also allows you to track your moods as they shift. Changing emotions are normal, but if you're experiencing intense swings, taking note of when and why they happen can help you navigate your triggers. "Regularly tracking your emotional rhythms is a powerful way to take care of your mental health," Calm's spokesperson affirms. "It allows you to recognize patterns, create space for your feelings, and get insight into what you need to best care for yourself."
Mindfulness is rooted in your breath. Consider the adage, "Take a deep breath!"—or even the notification hardwired into today's Apple watches. "Deep breathing exercises are a simple, yet impactful way to release stress, build resilience, and feel your best," Calm's insider says, adding that these exercises can help you tackle stress in the moment, as it actively washes over you. Whatever technique you choose, the main takeaway from mindfulness is to check in with yourself and your surroundings on a consistent basis. "True mindfulness is not checking it off your to-do list after five minutes in the morning. It's sitting with yourself," Stillings says. "It's not performative—it's deep."