Few of us are immune to the stressful impacts of our lives – no matter our occupation, the pressures we face to eat well, achieve success, sleep right, look after our families, have an exciting life and accomplish everything we need to 24/7 – week in and week out – is pretty incredible. Finding balance in a world filled with all of these daily pressures and expectations can be challenging – and you might be feeling like you need some help to switch off. We’ve got you sorted. Dr. Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind, gave us her tips on how to switch off, manage stress, work on our mindfulness and generally slow things down.

Meditate on the go

“Mindfulness is just one tool which can help you manage stress. Meditation is the training vehicle people should use as it develops your skills of being more aware in the present moment. Finding a few minutes each day to meditate and become more mindful is easy, because you can do it anywhere using your mobile phone. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down. Research from Virgin Mobile found that Aussies spend on average over an hour and a half commuting each day, with 83% admitting they crave a calmer commute. Whether you’re walking or sitting on the train, your commute is the perfect time to take a moment to plug into a guided meditation to put a smile on your mind,” says Dr. Wootten. You can download the Smiling Mind app free from the Apple App Store or Google Play, and plug in to switch off with the partnership between Smiling Mind and Virgin Mobile called “The Daily Commute”.

Slow things down

“We live in a world that is so fast-paced, that we can sometimes forget to stop and reflect on the present moment. By stopping or slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time, you can become more efficient, productive and resilient. Try making a conscious effort to slow down when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, go for a walk, or listen to a short meditation on your smartphone to help you to develop a mindful practise,” Dr. Wootten says.

Switch off distractions and notifications

“We all love to be connected, but every day countless messages and notifications compete for our time and attention. Too often we are distracted and lose sight of the present moment. Turning off notifications on your phone for intervals of time can give you some digital balance and help you to connect with yourself and the present moment. Start by turning off push notifications on your apps, and try using the do not disturb feature while you listen to a mindfulness meditation on your smartphone,” says Dr. Wootten.

Focus on your breathing

“Controlled breathing not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best, it also promotes feelings of calm and relaxation. All it takes is 10 minutes or less. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, and focus on taking long, deep breaths until you feel relaxed. It’s as simple as that,” Dr. Wootten tells us.

Write a list of things you’re grateful for

“Take 5 minutes out of your day to jot down the people, places and events you appreciate in your life. The more you start to notice and appreciate what makes you happy, the more you can then implement these things into your daily life. Whether you write your list on a piece of paper, or on your phone – keeping it with you means you’ll have something to look at whenever you need a boost,” Dr. Wootten says.