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Do you ever wonder where your time goes in your day? Or do you ever think things like “how is it already Monday AGAIN?” Do you blink and suddenly it is next month, and you aren’t sure what you have been doing up to now? Time flies. Literally. I am certain that I am not the only person who has ever wished that they could stop time (or at least slow it down). The ability to pause the world around us is certainly a coveted superpower. Unfortunately there is no way to stop the march of time, but there is definitely a way to slow it down and it is really simple: Learning how to be mindful.
We spend a lot of our time thinking about the past and worrying about or planning for the future. SO much time in fact, that we spend hardly any time in the present. How often do you focus entirely on what you are doing? How often do you look around you and really pay attention? We are so busy working on our to-do lists that the present moment is just passing us by. Before we know it, we are living the future we were dreaming about or worrying about, and already we are thinking of the next thing we need to do.
Learning how to be mindful and practising it every day, will bring back a sense of the now to your day. Connect yourself back to the now and enjoy living in the moment. Here are 10 easy ways to be mindful every day. I have included a few answers to questions about mindfulness and how it can be of benefit to you.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being in the moment, placing all of your attention in that moment, and accepting the moment without worry or overwhelm.
Mindful has described mindfulness as “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.”
Why is it good to be mindful?
Mindfulness will allow you to connect to yourself and the world around you, and help you appreciate each moment in your day. Appreciating the little things and little moments in our days is us appreciating our lives. There is beauty in the small and seemingly mundane. These moments are literally what our lives are made of.
Can you be mindful without meditation?
Mindfulness and meditation are connected but different. Mindfulness is not only about practising meditation, but meditation is a wonderful practice.
Being mindful doesn’t need to be complicated or ritualistic, it is a way of thinking and living that can be learned.
How can learning to be mindful benefit me?
Mindfulness allows us to connect with our bodies, minds and emotions. Having the intention of practising mindfulness every day will support you to check in with yourself more often and become more self-aware.
Being mindful gives you another way of living. Instead of the rushing around, multi-tasking, focusing on previous wrongs… you will slow down, focus on the present moment (which means one thing at a time!) and appreciate your time more.
Mindfulness has been studied increasingly in the past few decades, and it has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Being mindful can improve your mood, and even support you to be more creative. It even aids sleep!
If these benefits sound like something you need, then keep reading for my top 10 ways to be mindful every day.
10 Ways To Be Mindful Every Day
1. Take a moment.
Mindfulness is about connecting to the present moment. Living in the here and now. We spend too much time planning for and worrying about the future, or going over the past.
Stop what you are doing, and practice connecting to the moment.
- Name 5 things you can see around you right you.
- Think about 4 things you can feel right now.
- Identify 3 things you can hear right now.
- Name 2 things you smell right now.
- What 1 thing you can taste right now?
This practice allows you to connect to your environment and to your own self.
2. Don’t judge or react to your thoughts.
Our minds can run away with themselves. Reacting to these thoughts can cause anxiety and stress. We can feel guilty or ashamed of our thoughts. But what if we just allowed those thoughts to pass gently? Without judging them as they arise?
Take a few minutes to focus on your thoughts. Notice them coming and going without judging and labelling. If you do judge or react to any thoughts, acknowledge that, and then gently let the thought pass.
Being mindful in this way helps you to develop an awareness and understanding of how your thoughts affect you, and how you can better control your thoughts every day.
Breathing. We all do it. But how often do we notice it? How often do we think about it?
A simple way to be mindful is to focus on your breath. Don’t change your breath at all. Don’t try to breathe deeper or slower. Just notice your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Feel where it goes. Feel the temperature of the air as it enters and leaves. If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your focus back on your breath.
Focus on your breathing for a few minutes each day. This is a particularly good practice for when you first wake up instead of reaching for your phone. It’s also very easy to do at your desk.
4. Single task.
Multi-tasking is a thief of time, and a thief of joy. It is not a great skill to have, although it is touted as such, because nobody can actually multi-task effectively.
I promise you, you will accomplish so much more and at better quality, if you stick to the task at hand. Do one thing at a time!
It keeps you efficient, it keeps you focused.
By working in this way, you will be much more mindful and connected to the present moment, and the present task. When you need to be “on it”, this is the way to work.
5. Live in your own flow.
I am a HUGE advocate of connecting to yourself so deeply that you understand the flow that your mind and body crave to feel healthy and happy. I have talked about this before in my 5 Ways To Be Intentional With Your Time post.
Living in your own flow means you are consciously deciding to live in a way that you need to live, rather than what society or anyone else expects of you. (Hello night owls! I see you.) This requires you to focus on yourself daily: living mindfully.
This isn’t feasible for everyone because of bills and children, and school runs etc. So a great way to live more mindfully and in your flow is to set yourself one thing to do each day that matters most to you and makes you feel most connected to yourself.
6. Concentrate on eating.
We live in the age of at-desk lunches, in-front-of-tv dinners, meals on the go. We literally multi-task while we eat. Society has frowned upon taking time to have meals so much that the thing we do to survive is now something a lot of us don’t have time to think about. Enter – convenience foods.
By taking the time to eat slowly and savour our food, we can connect more to our bodies and enjoy our meals and mealtimes more. Try eating without any distractions and notice the flavours and textures of the food.
7. Connect with your body.
Whenever you are walking, exercising, doing the housework, or anything physical, notice how your body is feeling. Bring your attention to your muscles. Notice how they move and feel as you are physically active. Notice how when you move one part of your body, other parts react. Become aware of your body as whole and how it is all interconnected.
Another great way to connect with your body is to practice abdominal breathing.
8. Let your mind wander.
Your mind loves to wander. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, but it would be unhealthy to not bring balance to this. Our minds are doing a lot of work and allowing them to wander can help us to process thoughts and experiences effectively and healthily. We can’t be mindful 24/7. And I don’t think we should strive to be. Our minds need space, just as we need space. So allow yourself some time to just be and to wander, and to dream and to imagine, because that is where your creativity lies and where your soul rests.
9. Cultivate joy.
We all have those small things that just make us feel really happy. They are unique to us, but they don’t have bells and whistles. They are just those moments where we feel joy. Some people get it from gardening, other people get it from a song. Other people get it from reading a good book, some people get it from a long, hot shower. Whatever brings you those blissful moments where you just cant help but feel content and smile – cultivate that. Include those activities in your day. You will literally bring yourself joy.
10. Notice the mundane.
We live for the excitement. For the big moments. We love a good celebration and good big special occasion. But every day living, the mundane moments, the small repetitive things that just need done – those are quite literally our lives. Brushing our teeth. Doing the dishes. Taking a shower. Notice when you are doing these activities in your day. Focus on them each time. Bring a little appreciation to them and the moments they bring to your day. They might not be big but they are important and worth noticing and celebrating.
How will you be mindful today?
Practising mindfulness for even a few minutes a day will bring massive benefits to your mind and body. Take some time to start practising now. Keep it simple.