Mindfulness Preparations for the End of Summer

Summer is quickly coming to an end with only two weeks left to enjoy the sun, pools, beaches, and other fun activities that help you destress and take your mind off of the reality of responsibilities. With that in mind, it is no surprise that some of us may be feeling overwhelmed with the stress of going back to our normal lives be it school, university, or work. There are several ways to stay grounded in these times, and the greatest way to practice grounding yourself is through mindfulness and mindfulness techniques that help you do just that!

Mindfulness – a way of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future by simply focusing on the moment that we’re currently in. There are several ways to practice mindfulness, but first, you must understand the importance of the three basic components of it: Intention, attention, and attitude.

The Three Components of Mindfulness

Intention: Your intention is what you hope to get from practicing mindfulness. You may want stress reduction, greater emotional balance or to discover your true nature. The strength of your intention helps to motivate you to practice mindfulness daily and shapes the quality of your mindful awareness and it important to pinpoint what that is.

Attention: Mindfulness is all about paying attention to your inner or outer experience in the present moment. Your mindful attention is mainly developed through various types of meditation from observing an object, to participating in a group exercise, and more! The key is to not allow your focus to drift from what you are doing in that exact moment.

Attitude: If you try to practice mindfulness with a negative attitude towards the practice – you will definitely not succeed. Also, Mindfulness involves paying attention to certain attitudes, such as curiosity, acceptance, and kindness – both towards the practice itself, as well as the exercise that you are participating in.

Mindfulness Techniques to Stay Grounded in Times of Distress

There are several ways to practice mindfulness, and the good news is you can incorporate most of them into your day!

Letting Go of Intruding Thoughts: It’s happened to all of us: you’re sitting there, trying to focus on one thing, whether it be work, an assignment, or even a conversation with a friend, but then catch your mind drifting. This is where the use of the Teflon technique comes in handy! Teflon is a synthetic chemical, or a non-stick surface that is usually found on cooking appliances like pots and pans. The idea behind this is to imagine your mind as having that surface and allow intrusive thoughts to drift off to focus on one thing – hence, the Teflon effect.

Observing and Describing: This technique can be done both together and separately. When in distress, simply pick an object that is around you and observe it for a good minute. Pay close attention to the details, textures, and shape of the object whether you’re just looking at it or holding it. Once you’re done observing, take another minute to describe what you see and feel by using non-judgmental terms. Keep the Teflon technique in mind when practicing this technique to stop your mind from allowing your observations from drifting. This activity allows you to decompose yourself and release your negative emotions by focusing on and appreciating an ordinary object.

Mindful Appreciation: In this exercise, all you must do is notice 5 things in your day that usually tend to go unappreciated. For example, the ability of a bulb to light up a room! The point of this exercise is to simply give thanks and appreciate the seemingly insignificant things in life, the things that support our existence but rarely get a second thought amidst our desire for bigger and better things. Don’t forget to keep track to see how well you’ve done by the end of the day!

Focus Fascination: You can use this technique with basically anything and everything, and the best part of it is that it can be something you really enjoy! Whether it’s a hobby, or playing with your pet, all you have to do to practice focus fascination is direct all your energy and attention to that one particular thing. Like observing and describing, this technique goes together with the Teflon technique because it won’t work unless you’re completely focused on that one activity.

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Omaya Michelle

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