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Mindfulness for Expats in Barcelona

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Mindfulness for Expats in Barcelona

In recent years, mindfulness and meditation practices have become increasingly popular. But what exactly is “mindfulness” and how can it be of use to expats in Barcelona? 

According to mindful.org, mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Many people think of meditation when they hear the word mindfulness, and to them, meditation is typically envisioned as sitting in a quiet room with your legs crossed and your eyes closed. While meditation is certainly a part of mindfulness, and the aforementioned scene is an example of meditation, this is not always the case. Mindfulness is something you can do in many situations, even if you’re on the go or in a loud, busy place.

Expats can face many issues in their everyday lives: homesickness, immigration troubles, family conflict, anxiety, etc. Mindfulness can help expats manage these problems, not necessarily by making them disappear, but by giving them tools to handle them. Mindfulness requires practice, and more benefits are seen with more practice. That said, here are a few ways you can practice mindfulness even during your busy life as an expat:

Accept

Long commute to work in the morning? It may be tempting to plug in your headphones and listen to music or a podcast, but taking 5 minutes to be mindful could improve your mood and focus for the entire day. Try sitting for a few minutes to breathe deeply and observe your physical sensations, perhaps taking time to run through each of the senses. Some may be less pleasant: a baby crying loudly in the background, the hard back of your seat…but observing these sensations can help you gain insight into your own mood and interpretation of these feelings. For example, maybe you’re often in a bad mood in the mornings but don’t know why. Is it possible that all this noise and chaos is  affecting you and making you more irritable? Is it that the hardness of your seat is making your back stiff and making you feel more tense? Just by observing these things, we can alter the stories we tell ourselves and come to see that, perhaps some of our feelings have simpler explanations than we realise.

Observe

As an expat, you’re spending time in a new country with a lot to offer. There’s so much to see and do in Barcelona, it can be overwhelming…but often, we’re so engrossed with our own problems and stresses that we can walk down the street without even paying attention to anything around us. Not only does this exacerbate our stress, but it leads us to ignore things that might otherwise be interesting or cool. So next time you’re walking, try to shift your focus from your internal world to your external world. Take a moment to look at the way the leaves on a tree sway in the wind. Observe the interactions of people on the corner. Admire the lettering on a shop sign. Sometimes the world around us might not necessarily be beautiful, but there’s always something to see, and doing so might make you momentarily transcend all the worries running around in your head.

Cue Mindfulness

A final strategy you can use to help you practise mindfulness more frequently is picking an object that you use often and letting it serve as a reminder to be mindful. This could be a water bottle that you bring with you to work, or a ring that you wear every day. Train yourself so that every time you look at or interact with these objects, your brain reminds itself to be mindful of the moment and your sensations. The object could even be something like a phone, an object that typically serves as a distraction and antagonist to our mindfulness. Each time you pick up your phone or hear it ping, remember to be mindful and aware of what you’re doing, even if what you’re doing is simply scrolling on Instagram.

Mindfulness is a skill that becomes easier and more beneficial the more you practice it. While there are many techniques put forth by many different people, find the ones that work best for you and work to implement them to help you live a happier, calmer, and more mindful life in Barcelona.

If you would like to work on mindfulness in Barcelona, our collaborators at Therapy in Barcelona can help. Read more about  Mindfulness here.

Mindfulness Course in English in Barcelona

Come and learn some mindfulness at one of our groups or, in sessions with one of our professionals at Therapy in Barcelona.

Read some more articles about Mindfulness

A (mindful) party for one!

Being Well & Living Well with ‘Mindfulness’

Defining Mindfulness

10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Without Hitting the Meditation Mat

By Claire Suisman