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Dr Gary Tho
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Dr Gary Tho is the owner of Chiropractic Works, a Family Sports and Wellness clinic in Orchard and Tanjong Pagar in Singapore. He specialises in pain relief and high performance for individuals and organisations. He believes being be your best self requires a strong Mind, Body and Tribe.

Dr Gary is also the author of The Pain-Free Desk Warrior, Free yourself from aches and pains which is the definitive guide for those stuck at their desk for more than 2 hours a day.

Chiropractic Works

October 02, 2017

Mindfulness to Escape the Daily Grind

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Mindfulness at its best in the daily grind. How to feel at calm, yet laser focused, creative and clear headed.

Mindfulness has been gaining popularity all over the world. It is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully aware about the present. Besides helping you ‘find’ yourself, Mindfulness stops you from being overwhelmed by the things that are going on around you. It’s a flow state, that’s similar to the peak performance state that top athletes aim to compete at. This state offers massive benefits for high performing individuals, and makes even the most mundane of tasks like replying emails much more simple.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply observing yourself in the present moment. This means being fully aware of your thoughts, emotions, body sensations and movements as they arise and pass, without judgment.

Some benefits of mindfulness include:

  • Reduces depression, anxiety and stress (study1, study2, study3)
  • Reduces distraction (study)
  • Reduces bias (study1, study2)
  • improves clarity (study)
  • improves creativity (study)
  • improves emotional stability
  • increases compassion (study)
  • improves self perception (study)
  • improves focus (study)
  • improves listening skills
  • improves complex thinking and decision making even when under stress
  • improves interpersonal skills and group relationships (study)

So how can one start practicing mindfulness?

Many people suggest taking 1 minute (or more) out of your day to sit, stand or lie quietly and focus on your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. Unless you’re disciplined, many often forget to do it. Instead, try including mindfulness in your usual daily activities. Here are suggestions to include mindfulness in your day.

1.  On the commute to work (for both public transport & drivers)
  • Switch off the phone. Pay attention to how your body feels. Energetic? Well rested? Tense? Be aware of your sense of touch. How do your clothes feel on you? What does the seat feel like? Are your feet grounded? What does the steering wheel feel like? Feel how the car drives. Drive or walk deliberately. Don’t go to work on autopilot. Notice and acknowledge.
  • What’s going on in your head? Are you planning your day? What emotions do you have? Worried about a client meeting? Stressed about a deadline? Acknowledge the emotion. Reflect on where the emotion is coming from in your mind (personal history, insecurity, etc). Decide how you want to respond to this.
  • Running late? Just focus on walking fast. Don’t let your mind race. Don’t think about the excuse you’re going to give. Focus on each step. Each quick push off. Each gentle landing. Right. Left. Right. Left. Stay in the moment. 

2.  While at your desk
  1. Stressed? Drop everything and take 10 deep breaths. Notice your breath. Where does the breath go? What moves? Don’t think about route that the air travels. Just feel where the movement is. Feel how easy it is to breathe. Be aware of what thoughts or emotions you are experiencing. Notice your reaction to the stress and how you’ve been dealing with it. Decide how you would prefer to react. How can you give yourself grace and offer compassion to what or whomever is stressing you.
  2. Tired? Move. Deliberately move your body. Pay attention to where tension is held up in your body. Pay attention to what feels fatigued or numb. Contract that muscle that is tired. Squeeze it hard for 10 seconds and then relax. Feel and enjoy that relaxation. Stretch that muscle or joint that feels tight. Really focus on getting the deepest stretch. Release and notice how your body reacts to the stretch.
  3. Losing focus? Tap your little finger. Then synchronize this tapping with the same finger on your other hand. After 20 taps, repeat this with each finger. When tapping your fingers try to repeat a short affirmation. Make up your own, or use these:
    • "My mind is clear and focused"
    • "I am always focused on what I am doing"
    • "I am calm and focused in all that I do"
    • "I can concentrate and focus at will"
    • "I have clarity and energy"

3.  When you need a great night's sleep (Especially when falling asleep is difficult)
  1. An hour before bedtime, get into a good sleep hygiene routine. Deliberately put away your electronic devices and turn off all screens (TV, tablets, phones, etc). Calm your thoughts, journal and prepare yourself for tomorrow. Repeat the following string of affirmations:
    • I have done my best for today
    • I gave love in everything I did
    • Thank you for a great day
    • Tomorrow is going to be the most wonderful day
    • I deserve a peaceful night sleep
  1. Mindful body relaxation. While lying down or sitting comfortably with eyes closed, bring your attention to your body. Be aware about little things like the pressure your body is feeling from the chair or bed. Next, focus on your toes. What do they feel like? What position are they in? Do they feel a breeze? Then contract and curl the toes for 5 seconds. Release and feel the sensation of ease and relaxation. Repeat for all the other body parts (ankles, calf, thigh, buttocks, back, shoulder blades, shoulders, arms, forearms, fingers/hand, neck and face).

  2. Breathing relaxation. Pay attention to your breath. Notice which area of the body expands and contracts as you breath. Then take a series of deep deliberate breaths. You can follow traditional breathing meditation techniques of focusing on the ‘touch point’ of the breath. Alternatively you can focus on the breathing pattern itself. Here’s one example of a relaxing breathing pattern. It’s called “4-6-2”. Take a slow breath for a full 4 counts. Immediately and naturally breathe out for an entire 6 counts. Pause without breathing in or out for 2 counts. Repeat.

Finding it difficult to remain zen during your business travels? Follow some of Dr Gary's advice to maintain comfort and wellness.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Gary Tho is the owner of Chiropractic Works, a Family Sports and Wellness clinic in Orchard and Tanjong Pagar in Singapore. He specialises in pain relief and high performance for individuals and organisations. He believes being be your best self requires a strong Mind, Body and Tribe.

Dr Gary is also the author of The Pain-Free Desk Warrior, Free yourself from aches and pains which is the definitive guide for those stuck at their desk for more than 2 hours a day.

Visit his author bio page to connect with his social profiles.

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