Ease stress and improve focus with mindfulness

Being mindful is easier than it sounds

Man on couch laughing

By Daisy Barringer

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for helping to navigate stress, reduce burnout, improve sleep, and increase the quality of your overall mental health. But did you also know that it can help you concentrate better? Mindfulness exercises can also be an immediate way to focus and cope with the stress of our day-to-day lives.


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of consciously paying attention to the present moment (versus operating on autopilot) in an open, patient, and accepting way. Mindfulness benefits include feeling a sense of calm and inner stillness and being willing to face what we are feeling, which isn’t always easy. Distractions are a common way to avoid anxiety and stress, which is why many people often turn to them. 

Mindfulness can help counteract the coping mechanism of distraction and guide us back on track to what’s happening right in front of us. Plus, it’s simple to incorporate into our lives.

Here are a few daily activities that you can practice mindfulness while doing:

  • Washing dishes
  • Drinking a cup of coffee
  • Taking a walk

How mindfulness can help improve focus

Incorporating small moments of mindfulness into your day-to-day routine may be an easy way to get started:

Start your day with intention

Begin your morning by asking yourself, “What is my intention today?” This will set the tone for the day, while also giving it direction and purpose, rather than something to just get through and can be a helpful step in starting mindfulness.

Or, start with guided mindfulness meditations. Depending on your health plan, you might have access to Wellvolution®, a digital platform that connects you with health apps and programs – including Headspace. 

Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking has become the norm for many of us. Practicing mindfulness – meaning placing your attention on one thing at a time – can help with learning, memory, emotional control, and awareness

Next time you find yourself eating dinner while scrolling through social media, consider putting your phone down and allowing yourself to fully enjoy what you’re eating. Pay attention to the smell of the food and how it tastes. Notice if you are just trying to get through the task of eating. Perhaps try slowing down and savoring each bite. 

Go for a mindful walk

If going on a stroll is something you enjoy, consider using it as a way to practice mindfulness. Instead of listening to music or catching up with a friend on the phone, pay attention to your surroundings. Look at the leaves budding or changing colors; listen to them rustling in the wind; notice how the air smells. Pay attention to the way your body feels and the movement of your breath. Be present in the moment and notice how that feels.

If you’re really struggling to move forward or get through the day, you may find it useful to speak with a mental health care professional who can help you manage your mental load.


Having trouble staying focused?

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Wellvolution is a registered trademark of Blue Shield of California. Wellvolution and all associated digital and in-person health programs, services, and offerings are managed by Solera, Inc.