The shower trick that could improve your mental health

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·Features and Health Editor
·4-min read
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Fact: life can get busy, and trying to schedule an hour-long meditation or self-care session every other day can seem a bit unrealistic.

Good news is - you don’t have to. When it comes to minimising stress and burnout, all you need is just a little bit of mindfulness. And it could be as simple as changing the way you shower.

woman meditating
Mindfulness doesn't have to mean 30 minutes of meditation. Photo: Getty

While the practice of mindfulness and meditation has been around for thousands of years, it has gained traction in the modern day world as it enables us to change the wiring and makeup of our brains.

From reducing rumination, stress and emotional reactivity to boosting focus, sleep quality and relationship satisfaction - countless studies have presented limitless benefits of incorporating the practice into our everyday lives.

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According to Sally Kellett, founder of the purpose-built virtual and in-person meditation studio Mirosuna, there are simple tools you can add to your daily routine that will enable more peace, perspective and purpose.

Here she shares 5 easy ways to practise mindfulness everyday:

The art of showering

Yes - a shower can be something that just 'has to be done', but with mindfulness you can transform it into a peaceful and enjoyable exercise. In your next shower, do everything the way you normally do but observe the speed at which you do things and be aware of your thoughts.

Asian woman taking a shower the back of her picture
Changing the way you shower could change your day. Photo: Getty

How quick do you scrub your body, brush your teeth or what do you think of? You might find that you are moving very quickly. In your second shower, slow everything down. Where are you in a rush to? Why are you scrubbing so fast? Or are you just on autopilot - rushing in your shower because you haven't put the brakes on rushing throughout your day.

The goal is to move slowly and think of one thing that happened in your day. Spend the rest of your shower reflecting on it. This helps lessen all your other thoughts to give your mind a break, which has a very therapeutic effect.

Wake up and pause

It's really easy to fall into a life of autopilot where your alarm goes off and you hit snooze a few times before shooting out of bed at the last minute. However you can break that stressful cycle with these simple steps.

One: find that moment where you have woken and are conscious enough not to fall back asleep. Two: lay there for a few minutes and inhale 3 deep breaths into your stomach then chest. Three: by now you will want to start thinking about your to-do list...DON'T. Four: control your mind and focus on what you can hear outside. Make a conscious effort to stop yourself thinking about new things that come into your mind that are related to you.

Cut the crap

It's normal for humans to gravitate towards negativity and negative conversations. Think back to those conversations you've had with someone where all you've done is criticise others and where they fell short. We've all done it - it's draining and we gain nothing.

Instead you should have patience and compassion towards those around you, and yourself. Start by observing your speech and mind daily. Every time you find yourself engaging in negative conversation or thoughts, actively stop and change the conversation.

Do something kind

Research shows that happy people are more motivated to do kind things for others. Next time you're in bed about to go to sleep, reflect on your day and think about all the kind things you did for yourself and others. It may be a short list, it may be a long list. Doing something kind doesn't have to be some grand gesture, of course it can be that too but the most important thing is your intention.

When this kindness is received, it feels good for all parties. If you do something kind and it backfires, don't be discouraged, it just means that kindness wasn't understood in the way you had intended. That is only grounds to find new ways to show your kindness in a language that others understand.

Cut out useless activities

We spend a lot of time during the day saying yes to activities and doing mindless things that don't spark joy. These activities don't nourish us in the long run and actually take our time away from activities that are aligned with our higher purpose, goals and dreams. It might not seem like much when you lose an hour here and there but it all adds up.

For example, losing two hours a day is 14 hours a week. So the daily practice here is everyday, start to mentally categorise your activities into the spark joy or kill joy bucket. If the activity doesn't spark joy, bring you closer to your higher purpose or doesn't help you relax, ask yourself, can you afford to drop it.

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