Are you feeling stressed? You’re certainly not alone. All of the ups and downs of the past two years have most of us feeling more than a little on edge. The potential benefits of a mindfulness practice include better sleep, less stress, and a stronger sense of self – but that’s just the beginning. Getting in touch with your inner self also helps strengthen memory and improve your relationships.Your Blueground apartment is the perfect place to start a mindfulness practice. Here are some easy ways you can turn your living space into a den of zen.
Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and focusing your attention on your breath. That said, it’s probably easier to get started by downloading an app or tuning in to a meditation podcast.
Be gentle with yourself as you begin meditating – it will only get easier as you get more comfortable with your new practice. You may need to experiment with different styles of meditation — concentration, visualization, body scan, etc. — before you find what works best for you. The important thing is not to get discouraged. Meditation isn’t a race.
If the idea of sitting with your thoughts makes you squirm, you may find it easier to use a journal to build your mindfulness practice. Focusing on what is going well in your life, as opposed to things that feel outside of your control, can help you feel more grounded.
A simple way to get started is with a gratitude journal. Writing down the things you are grateful for might seem overly simple and even a little cheesy, but there is ample evidence for the benefits of this approach.
The key to benefitting from a gratitude journal is to figure out what works best for you personally, especially when it’s part of your mindfulness practice. Some people like to use their journals each day as part of a ritual, while others see the most benefit from weekly journaling. You may prefer to use the Notes app on your phone over a pen and paper. The important thing is to refocus your perspective on what is good in your life. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you can refer to your gratitude journal as am emotional touchstone.
Are you feeling stalled in your career or blocked creatively? Writing in a journal can help you balance your mind and clarify your goals.
Author and former Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman swears by his routine of writing three longhand pages a day in his journal each morning. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at how powerful Morning Pages proved, from day one, at calming anxieties, producing insights and resolving dilemmas. After all, the psychological benefits of externalizing thoughts via journaling are well-established.”
All you need to get started with this powerful mindfulness practice is a pen or pencil and a blank notebook. Although Burkeman suggests writing your three pages in the morning, you may want to experiment with various times of the day to see which works best with your schedule.
The idea of three pages a day is borrowed from Julia Cameron’s popular book The Artist’s Way. You may want to supercharge your mindfulness boosting journaling by adding in the “artist dates” that are a key part of Cameron’s program. You could also find a local or virtual Artist’s Way group to connect with others and keep yourself accountable to your new mindfulness practice.
Maybe traditional meditation doesn’t work for you, and journaling seems like too much work. Don’t worry, there’s still hope for you! A mindful hobby like embroidery, knitting, quilting or woodworking can provide many of the same benefits as a more structured meditation practice.
During last year’s Olympics, British diver Tom Daley made quite a splash when he shared his hand-knit creations on Instagram. Daley credits knitting with helping him find calm and relieve stress – and the gold medal he won in Tokyo is a testament to how mindfulness can help anyone achieve balance.
Knitting is an especially practical choice as a mindful hobby, since all you need to get started is a set of knitting needles and a few balls of yarn. You can turn to YouTube for knitting tutorials, and it’s easy to find patterns online. Be sure to set the stage for mindfulness by eliminating distractions – especially your phone! – and putting on a relaxing playlist before you sit down to craft.
Whichever of these mindfulness practices you choose, it’s easy to center yourself in a turnkey furnished apartment from Blueground. All of our comfortable homes in key cities in Europe, the Middle East, and North America are designed to let our guests show up and start living – without the hassles of setting up utilities and shopping for basic necessities. Find out more about the Blueground experience.