• May 21, 2024
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 5 read

Embracing Mindfulness in May

In honor of Mental Health Month, you are invited to join us in embracing “Mindful May!” We encourage you to take a little time for yourself with mindful activities. According to mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not being reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us.” It is a quality that every human being already possesses—you just have to learn how to access it. Practicing physical or mental mindfulness has many benefits and can impact your life in a variety of positive ways. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, while also increasing feelings of calm and confidence during stressful situations.

Through mindfulness practices, you can gain better control of your emotional responses and become more resilient, while developing new coping skills. Most of us have daily routines to manage our busy lives and mindfulness is another set of strategies to deal with the hectic pace of modern life. While mindfulness is an innate ability, it can also be cultivated through small habits and proven techniques. Meditation and yoga are fantastic ways to engage with this practice. However, there are numerous other mindfulness practices you can incorporate into your daily schedule. 

How to embrace mindfulness


When we are under stress, our breathing patterns change and we often take short, shallow breaths. Shallow breathing can prolong feelings of anxiety and make the physical symptoms of stress worse. Deep breathing boosts the amount of oxygen in the blood, lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, and reduces muscle tension. Start by settling into a comfortable position and closing your eyes; then, take several long, slow, deep breaths, breathing fully in through your nose and exhaling fully out through your mouth. Allow your breathing to find its own natural rhythm.

Focus your attention

Take the time to experience your environment with all your senses. What do you hear and see? What can you smell, touch, and taste? Enjoy the fresh air and the breeze when you go for a walk. When you’re at the grocery store buying nutritious foods and then later preparing a well-balanced meal, take the time to savor and enjoy your favorite foods. Cooking is an activity that engages every sense if you slow down to appreciate the experience.

Live in the moment

Many of us are so busy trying to “get through” each day, completing tasks and moving on to the next thing demanding our time and attention. Are we thriving or just surviving? What can we do to live in the moment? It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. Be intentional about your time and choices instead of feeling pulled in a million different directions. Accept that you cannot do it all and instead focus on quality time and experiences. Celebrate the moments and enjoy the current season of life!

Model self-acceptance

We often spend time and energy wishing our lives were different or "better." Our mind revisits past decisions. We judge ourselves for our mistakes, compare our lives to others, and worry about the future. These thoughts consume us, and the noise drowns out the good. Loving-kindness (a practice by Sharon Salzberg) takes all that energy and re-directs it in a positive way. Using positive affirmations is another excellent way to reinforce self-acceptance. By taking care of and accepting yourself, you create more space for others. 

Practice gratitude

We know appreciating the people in our lives is important. Research has linked gratitude with a wide range of benefits including enhancing our relationships and strengthening our immune system. Living life with gratitude means noticing the little wins. In addition, try these simple habits to get started; celebrate the good, say “Thank You” in the moment, list things you’re grateful for, show appreciation for kind acts, or write your thoughts in a Gratitude Journal. One of the most powerful ways to rewire your brain for more joy and less stress is to focus on gratitude.

Walk and meditate

Walking meditation is a fantastic way to combine two mindfulness practices which are both excellent stress relievers – exercise and meditation. This meditation can easily be done indoors or outside. Find a peaceful path, where you won’t be disturbed and can move back and forth for 10–15 steps. The path doesn’t have to be long; the goal is to practice a very intentional form of walking. Take 10–15 steps; then pause and breathe. Retrace your steps, in the opposite direction; pause and breathe again. You can repeat this process several times until you’re ready to continue along the path or finish your journey.

We hope you enjoyed learning a few simple techniques to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Start your day by setting good intentions, slowing down, and simply enjoying your life. Mindfulness, in May and all year long, is about taking some time for ourselves, focusing on what is important, and celebrating the special people in our lives. Find happiness and joy in the hustle and bustle of modern living. Breathe!

Let’s celebrate Mental Health Month with a “Mindful May.” If you embrace any new mindfulness practices, tell us about it by emailing GECU Cares at: [email protected] #GECUCares

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