3 simple mindfulness practices for coping with difficult experiences and emotions in day-to-day life
Cultivating mindfulness through regular meditation practice has been shown to produce numerous benefits over time. It reduces stress, anxiety, and emotional reactivity and increases focus, well-being, and compassion.
However, meditators sometimes grapple with the question of how to practically apply mindfulness skills in day-to-day life, particularly in moments of stress when we notice our buttons are being pushed or we’re edging towards emotional reactivity. It’s not always clear how to take mindfulness from the meditation cushion into the activities of daily life. It’s also no surprise that being mindful in moments where we are dealing with a difficult person or event can be more challenging than being mindful when we are peacefully and comfortably seated on a meditation cushion!
There are a few short practices that are well suited to integrating mindfulness into day-to-day life in order to reap the more tangible and immediate effects of stepping out of automatic patterns of reactivity and grounding ourselves in the present. Weaving these practices into your day in moments of calm can help you go about your daily activities more mindfully and may help prepare you to use mindfulness skills when you encounter stressors.
This may interrupt the cascade of negative thoughts, emotions, and actions that sometimes seems to happen automatically in moments of stress or emotional discomfort.
These different practices share elements but also have important differences. Try them and see what works best for you!
I'm a psychologist and mindfulness teacher based in Edmonton, Alberta.