Lets paint a picture: You get up in the morning, bleary eyed, shower, skip breakfast, sit in traffic checking the time every 2 minutes.You arrive at work, check your emails and immediately start putting out fires,adding new deadlines to the 12 already looming over your head, add more items to your to – do list, realise at 2PM that you haven’t eaten yet but opt for a cup of coffee instead because there’s no time to eat and I’M SO TIRED. Get home after 6, don’t even remember the drive, make food and fall into bed but can’t sleep because you’re worried about the 20 things you didn’t check off your to-do list. Wake up the next day, stressed and anxious, and do the same thing all over again.

Eventually after 3 months of this cycle you begin to really wonder: isn’t there more to life? Why can’t I just take a break?

How relatable is this the Awkward Yeti Cartoon strip? We LOVE the Awkward Yeti. 

This is life on auto-pilot, an unintentional life. It’s full of stress and anxiety, borne out of living in such a way that you are never fully present.

We have tried everything, and these are some of the easiest ways to break the cycle, feel more in control and be more mindful in each day.

Interrupt anxiety with Gratitude.

One of the best ways to break the cycle, is to interrupt anxiety with gratitude.

Instead of checking the time while stuck in traffic, take the time to think about all the things in your life that you have to be grateful for, you have nowhere else to go at that moment anyway.

The fact that you have a car is a start, a job to go to is another thing, a place to call home, a warm bed, the cup of coffee waiting for you at work.

Focus on your senses

Another way to break the cycle is a quick, simple exercise that brings you into the present moment.

Take a deep breath and focus on your senses.

What is the loudest thing you can hear? What is the most subtle thing? Are you listening to music? Maybe someone is talking in the distance? Or your colleague is typing on their keyboard? Are there birds chirping outside?

What does the surface you are sitting, lying down or standing on feel like? Is there maybe a gentle breeze? What is the temperature?

What can you smell? What is the most obvious and most subtle smell?  Your perfume? Petrol fumes?Coffee? Maybe it rained recently?

What can you taste? Maybe you recently ate something or brushed your teeth?

Take a moment to focus on what you can see. The most obvious thing, and something in the distance. If your eyes are closed, maybe the light behind your eyelids becomes red?

This will bring you back into your body, and help you feel less anxious or stressed. You can do it in the shower, while driving, or sitting at your desk – whenever it all feels a bit too much. Try it, it takes about a minute.

Live an intentional life.

Setting intentions is another way to pull yourself out of auto- pilot.

Instead of lying awake, think about things you want to achieve the next day, or this week. Small examples:

I will break my tasks down into achievable goals this week.

I will be kinder to myself.

I will clean out my workspace.

I will do all my laundry.

I will have a good week.

I will smile more.

Write them down if you want, but just make sure you do it.

You weren’t put on this earth to be stressed all the time, and these 3 simple exercises will replace the habits you have that cause more stress. They take the same amount of time out of your day, so why not just give it a try.

Once you have broken these habits, you can create more rituals to bring mindfulness, simplicity and calm into your routine : https://www.urbansimplicity.co.za/2018/07/26/5-simple-morning-rituals-to-create-calm-and-purpose/

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