“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. ” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Today I am sharing with you 5 ways, I find effective and that I commonly use to infuse mindfulness into my days. Mindfulness is so uncomplicated. “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” according to Marsha Lucas, Ph.D, psychologist and author of Rewire Your Brain for Love. It’s just a conscious effort to pay attention where attention was not before. I believe it is a practice that helps to train our brains to think differently, helps our overall moods and positively impacts our overall well being.
I hope you all try my tips for yourself and experience first hand how powerful mindful living can really be!
5 Ways To Add Mindfulness Into Everyday
- Minute(s) Meditations – I started getting more serious about meditation this year. Not only am I convinced from a psychological and medical standpoint, I believe adopting a meditation practice is life changing. Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety, stress and learning how to has helped many individuals become happier and more productive human beings. For people who have not meditated before I suggest short meditations, from one minute to twenty minutes. Once a week will turn into to a few times a week and then eventually to everyday. You don’t have to be a yogi to start or have be a super spiritual person. Anyone one can meditate. You just need a timer (or not) and a place to sit. With your eyes open or closed, your entire task is to focus on your breathing. Make it your intention. Simply breathe in & out of your nose counting to 4 each time. So breathe in 4 seconds, breathe out 4 seconds. If you become lost through this one minute or 20 minutes (whatever you choose), simply remind yourself of your intention and gently allow yourself to bring attention back to breathing. Many people enjoy this practice like how I have described it, but meditating has so many variations. There are guided meditations, meditating to music, group meditation, the list goes on. Here’s a great article with the best meditation apps of 2016 —> via Healthline. Not only do I recommend this to people who are physically feeling their emotions but also to creatives and people with highly stressful jobs. Meditation helps you find balance, recharge, refocus, and refresh the mind, body and soul.
- Chore Like You Mean it – Our days are filled with things we have to do. Chores. Turn your everyday tasks into mindfulness sessions. I use to cringe at doing chores as a child, I really just did not like to be told what to do and how to do, I turned out fine though, I love chores now! Now as an adult I look forward to cleaning my house and doing chores. I find it therapeutic to take care of myspace & things around me. I don’t think it was until I realized that doing chores gives me an opportunity to turn boring tasks into a mindful ritual. Next time you are preparing a meal, focus all your awareness on the task as hand, be present, fully there. Take notice. We are so busy multitasking, we rush through things sometimes not noticing important details. I understand the need of rushing through a small task because we need to make time for a bigger task or other things, however turning these little acts into moments of awareness, help you to tune in with the moment, yourself and the space you are in. Next time you are folding the laundry, notice the textures, the smell. Pay attention to the colors and your senses. Focus on how you are folding, bring attention to your movements. All these small intentions make for a greater emotional shift in your self awareness.
- Disconnect – Make it a habit to disconnect from the T.V., phone, social media, etc. Go out, be with people, join a group of some sort (art class, a sport, or hobby). As a blogger and millennial a big chunk of my time is spent online, on my iPhone & iPad. Reading articles, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Sometimes I experience this information overload that is exhausting. Now I have a apple watch, so I am constantly connected. I do not disconnect for long periods of time because I have work to do, but I make a conscious effort to disconnect one day a week. Lately I have been trying to be aware of how many times I check my email, Instagram and Snapchat through the day. Let’s be honest life goes on without us seeing what everyone we’ve ever known from high-school to now and our favorite IG personalities are doing, wearing, eating, etc. Try disconnecting by spending a few more hours than usual away from these information overload portals. Make a certain day of the week a technology free zone, or try starting your day without checking your social media platforms (guilty, but I try). Another way to disconnect it make dinner or outings with friends a phone free zone, unless you are taking pictures. Keep your hands free, put your phone away.
- Mindful Listening – I talk a lot, I interrupt, and I always have something to say. (Ask my boyfriend and friends) It was not something I thought about changing until my group of classmates in my clinical therapy class told me that I transform and make a complete 180 degree shift when I walk into therapy sessions. They told me it was amazing to see how I hardly talk and I use great active listening skills, without interrupting. I was not sure to take offense or to take it for what it was. I talk, a lot, I’m loud, I can’t deny it! I’ve learned many skills during the last few years in graduate school. Part of the training of any counselor or therapist is learning to be an active listener and consciously being fully present with a client. As an individual I have an excitable personality (My boyfriend has really helped me to be mindful of interrupting, I usually interrupt when I am excited or want to squeeze in a random fact that I find relevant in the moment, I never do it to be rude. However it can come across that way.) Being aware and being able to self-observe is a mindful task all on it’s own. I realize that I have this habit, that I’ve formed it over 26 years of my life. I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate those listening skills I use so gracefully with clients, with my dear family & friends. It’s been hard because habits are hard to break. Like I tell others, I also have to tell myself, be gentle with yourself, life is a learning process. Trying is good, it’s progress & progress takes time. When we listen, mindfully, not trying to get caught up in what people are going to say next or what we will say next, we don’t just hear their words; we really listen to what they’re saying. Focusing all your attention to the person you are talking to is powerful, it’s an act of love and people will appreciate your kindness. Like in my case, people will really start to see your efforts. I think that after a while you’ll find that the ones you practice this with will also practice being fully present with you too.
- Mindful Walking Outside – Walking gives you a chance to spend time being mindful and to squeeze in some physical activity. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to live in a walk-able city, it’s really given me a chance to get away from my studies and to take in the beauty of South Florida architecture & nature. Whether you are walking to and from work, around your neighborhood, park or through your back yard, you can turn all those moments into a meditative exercise. In yoga I’ve learned how to bring attention to different parts of my body. I love when the yoga instructor tells the class, after a few minutes of lying down mediation, to wiggle our toes and fingers, then to bend our knees and move our arms around, all while we are still lying down. They do this to bring our attention to the present and to help us bring attention to these body parts that will help us to begin to slowly stand up. When you go on your walks, allow yourself to become aware of the sensations your body is going through. Go outside, stand for a minute, bring your attention to your body, feel your feet grounded, notice how solid it is, breathe, begin to move your feet. Begin slowly and notice the small things. Pay attention to the details of your surroundings, the plants you are passing, the sensation of your feet with every step you take, the people, the sounds and the smells. I always find myself more inspired and happy after taking a walk outside. Sometimes the best way to bring more awareness inward is to get outside.
I hope you all enjoyed this post, feel free to share with a friend! Do you have any of your own mindfulness tips? Or are you going to try any of the ones above? Let me know below!