1. Tune in to the breath
It may sound like an irritating cliche, but there is scientific rationale for this advice. The breath is not only a powerful indicator of one’s state of mind but also a helpful modulator. During a busy day, take a few moments to consciously tune in to the breath. Feel three breaths move in and out of the body. Then slow down the exhalation to help trigger the relaxation response. Extending the breath in this way sends a message to the parasympathetic nervous system (the system that opposes the stress response) to calm down the body, which helps you think more clearly and feel more relaxed.
2. Use your surroundings as a circuit breaker
Take moments in the day to disconnect from the flurry of to do lists and direct your attention externally by tuning in to your senses. Listen to the sounds in the room, feel your body in space, see the space you are in, notice the temperature and smells. By tuning in to your senses, just for a few moments, you give your mind a micro break from the stress of thinking.
3. Use technology with awareness
Sitting at a computer all day? Bring awareness to your posture and breath. It has been noted that email apnea, the temporary suspension of breathing while dealing with emails, means we are inadvertently creating stress in the body. When we breathe irregularly, the body becomes acidic through retention of excess carbon dioxide. This acidity may contribute to stress related diseases. Check in with your body and breath whilst working at the computer to ensure you are getting sufficient oxygen.
4. Simplify your to do list
Bring attention to the top three priorities of your day. Break your work time into smaller blocks for higher levels of efficiency, and take short breaks between blocks. (Look up the pomodoro technique for a helpful way of doing this.)
5. Use your lunch as a mindful practice
Rather than eating whilst working on the computer, or missing out on lunch altogether, use your lunch as a way of practicing mindfulness. This means noticing you are eating as you are eating, intentionally tasting your food, and bringing awareness to the act of chewing. This will give your mind an opportunity to rest from the whirlwind
of the day, allowing space for mind and body rejuvenation.