How Pittsburghers can use Mindfulness to Reduce Stress

It’s easy to feel like you’re just going through the motions in winter, especially in Pittsburgh. It’s cold, gets dark super early, and nobody wants to go outside—so it’s easy to just check things off the list until the weather gets warmer. But if you take a second to really notice and appreciate where you are and what you’re doing, it might make winter more bearable.

But First… What is Mindfulness?

Use mindfulness, the process of paying attention to everything you’re experiencing—thoughts, sensations, places, people—and enjoy an experience for what it is. Here are some things you can do to be mindful:

  • Focus on your breath, without trying to change it or force a pattern
  • Notice your body and senses that you normally wouldn’t, like how your feet feel on the floor and the way your room smells
  • Have a “micro-moment” of positivity—a few seconds thinking productively and positively—to shift your perspective, especially at work or in other stressful situations
  • Really remind yourself there are people that love and care for you and how great that feels, which is part of Stanford’s Loving-Kindness Meditation
  • Recognize your thoughts for what they are, and don’t try to change them if they’re negative, because thoughts are temporary and not representative of you

Winter can be tough, but there are plenty of places to go in Pittsburgh to boost your mindfulness and help you handle the stress.

woman smiling in mirror
Check out these cool spots in Pittsburgh to keep you smiling all winter long.

Mindful Zones in Pittsburgh

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

With this abundance of nature in Oakland, it’s a perfect place to pay attention to your senses. Smell everything, like the cocoa and jasmine plants, to feel at ease. Go with someone you love and have fun—take cute pictures in front of the bright colors and gorgeous displays and focus on how rewarding an experience like this can be. Mindfulness is all about noticing yourself enjoying life’s moments, so make that easier on yourself by doing something that’s lovely for your eyes and heart.

flowers at Phipps Botanical Gardens
Image courtesy of Phipps Botanical Gardens

Peace, Love and Zen

Located in East Liberty, this place is all about the essentials—oils. Peace, Love and Zen offers aromatherapy massages, as well as acupuncture and a sauna. The Himalayan Salt Cave and the Amethyst Bed are perfect places to focus on your breath and relieve stress as you close your eyes. If your mind starts to wonder during a session, just let your thoughts be thoughts, and try not to go down the rabbit hole. Allow the thoughts to flow freely, no matter what they are. Negativity is inevitable, but recognizing these feelings for what they are without trying to change them helps bust stress.

Himalayan salt cave at Peace, Love and Zen
Image courtesy of Peace, Love and Zen

Ohiopyle State Park

Hiking in the winter might not have been your first idea for stress relief, but it’s worth it for these sights. The cold air might seem harsh, but can be very refreshing. It’s important to get some Vitamin D even when it’s chilly outside. Separating yourself from the stress of daily life with nature is a great way to practice mindfulness—enjoy a “micro-moment” at Ohiopyle State Park.

Couple over the rapids at Ohiopyle state park
Image courtesy of TripAdvisor

As easy as it is to get caught up in the winter stress, try not to forget about your own wellbeing and use these places to help.

Where do you go to be mindful in Pittsburgh? Let us know in the comments!

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