The Key to Being Mindful During Times of Stress—and 3 Things to Avoid

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Humans today experience more stress than our ancestors did in their daily lives. Sure, they may have been chased by the occasional wild animal, but otherwise their lives were relatively simple. Today, however, from the moment we wake up, we are bombarded with stress triggers: school, work, notifications, social media, news, constant influx of information, and more. The key to managing this age of unprecedented stress is to be mindful in how and what we consume.

Starting the Day Stressed Rather than Mindful

From the moment you place your head on your pillow at night, you have likely already set yourself up for a stressful morning by setting an alarm—often on your phone. Setting an alarm triggers stress in the body and brain the moment you set the time for the next morning. This stress is called anticipatory stress, which is caused by anxiety when thinking about a future event. This stress spreads in your body during the night and into the next day, which is why you may often wake up feeling unrested and subsequently groggy during the day. When the alarm goes off, we are suddenly shaken from a state of rest to a state of shock; we see our blaring phones with various notifications, and our stress hormones immediately flow throughout our bodies.

Man being woken up by clock-how to be mindful during times of stress.
We begin our day with a stress trigger when an alarm jolts us from our restful state.

A Mindful Moment

Many of us would love to be trained to wake up exactly when we need to each day without the help of an alarm or our phone; unfortunately, many of us still need to rely on an alarm or our device to get us up and going for the day. So what can we do? We can be mindful about what we consume. Rather than beginning our day looking at a screen, we can set aside a mindful moment. Create a space for yourself to have a moment of mindfulness, and take time to create, not just consume. We reflect our environment, and as we facilitate an environment in our home to become a place of rest and reflection, we can reset our mornings from one of stress to one of calm.

A person sitting and meditating and learning how to be mindful.
Being mindful in what we consume allows us to combat stress with more intention and perspective.

Mind Clutter

It’s impossible for humans to multi-task, yet the way we live our lives would beg to differ. Our brains are constantly buzzing with the newest information, to-do lists, opinions, social media, household chores, news, and more. Focusing on critical tasks becomes more difficult when we are more overwhelmed. When we don’t take the time for our minds to reset for the day, we will often feel cluttered, disorganized, and exhausted. In living a more mindful, intentional life, look for ways that you can declutter your mind. As you do so, you will see more peace and organization throughout other aspects of your life.


Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not a sign of laziness—it is a symptom of perfectionism. Stress triggers bombard us, leading us to feel a burden of perfectionism. This perfectionism leads to procrastination. Without prioritizing time for mindfulness in our lives, we will feel easily overwhelmed by tasks and put them off until last minute. Doing so increases stress and keeps us from doing our best work. As you create time for mindfulness, you can be more disciplined in your time and energy. You will be better able to control how you use your time, rather than time consuming you.

Health Issues

What happens in your brain surfaces itself in your body. When stress affects our brain, it shows itself in various ways in our body. Headaches, stomach aches are just a few ways your brain tells your body it is stressed. Flare-ups of chronic health issues, and a weakened immune system are other ways stress can be manifested in our bodies. The body’s stressed state is the body’s fight-or-flight state, which is not the state we are to live in 24/7. Prioritizing mindfulness will help both the mind and body be stronger, more flexible, and have greater endurance.

Being mindful helps our bodies and brains be healthier and stronger.
Creating time for mindfulness practices will help both our bodies and brains be healthier and stronger.

Consuming Mindfully

When we continue to consume more than we can handle, we will eventually reach burnout. Practicing mindfulness is the key to helping us better manage stress and what we consume. Our days can filled with stress triggers, but we are able to build the brain stamina to combat what life throws our way by being mindful. As we begin our day, we can choose to consume mindfully by creating peaceful moments and an intentional life.

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