How to be mindful

Did you know that an estimated 8.3 million American adults suffer from psychological distress? According to an evaluation of federal health data, 3.4 percent of the U.S. population have issues with stress.

And when stress is not managed properly, it can lead to more mental health problems. The University of Ottawa’s Heart Institute says that when stress is not managed, it can cause you to develop anxiety and depression, which can increase your chances of getting cardiovascular disease.

So how can you lower your stress levels?

One method you can do to be stress-free is to use mindfulness to calm your mind.

Many business leaders and athletes use this method to calm down their loud minds. Some of the most prominent are NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

According to Abdul-Jabbar, when he was still playing in the NBA, he used yoga to not only help him prevent injuries but also to keep his mental health in check.

Via Esquire:

“But doing more [yoga] isn't just for the physical benefits, it's for the mental benefits that will come in handy in the years ahead, when your house burns down, your jazz collection perishes, and you lose to the Pistons in a four-game sweep in your final season.”

As for Jobs, he used mindful meditation to reduce his stress, gain more clarity, and enhance his creativity (and we know what he was able to achieve).

But how can you, a newbie to this, practice being mindful?

When I was younger, my dad always asked me “how do you feel? What do you need?” At the time, I found this to be super annoying. He would just randomly come up to me and ask me it when I was trying to do stuff, like play video games or watch TV.

But now that I am older, I appreciate that he did it because it was his way of teaching me how to be Zen and mindful; to be in tune with my emotions and to figure out what I needed to do to be balanced, for a lack of a better term.

But if you didn’t grow up with hippy parents or Zen enthusiasts, here are two things you can do, right now, to declutter your mind:

The first is to just pay attention to your breathing. When you are feeling like there are too many thoughts floating in your mind and you can’t focus, just stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and breathe deeply into your belly. You can also do this when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Just close your eyes and take 10-20 deep controlled breaths. This will not only calm down your heart rate but will also eliminate any unnecessary thoughts or concerns. Once you feel like you are centred, open your eyes and continue with your work.

The second thing you can do is to pay attention and be mindful when you are eating.

When you are having a meal, just focus on your meal. Don’t watch TV or play on your phone/computer. Try not to think about anything other than the food that you are consuming. Focus on how your food tastes. Focus on your chewing and swallowing of the food. Don’t think about anything else.

This is one of the things that my dad always made sure I did. He never let me watch TV when I was eating. He also rarely let me talk when I was eating because he wanted me to solely focus on my meal.

Being mindful of your activities and emotions are very important for your health. So try these two things to be more mindful.


  1. I really need to try these tips! I'm such a stress-head so mindfulness is something I really need to get into

    Beth x |

    1. Hey,

      Practicing mindfulness will take some time to get used to, but it will do so much for you in the long run.


  2. I'm actually not surprised that so many people here in America deal with so much stress. Great tips though! I'll definitely have to use these when I'm stressing out and can't figure out how to calm down.

  3. I really need to work on this. I grew up with both of my parents worrying/stressing a lot so that kind of impacted me. I stress about things that aren't even worth stressing about. Thanks for the tips!