5 simple ways to practice mindfulness in daily life
Mindfulness is simply present moment attention, without judgement. Whether you have stress or anxiety, whether you’d like a more restful sleep, or to feel more connected and joyful, mindfulness teaches us how to wake up, pay attention and become present.
With greater awareness, we make better choices, we build stronger relationships, and are able to remain calm among the ups and down of daily life.
One of the questions we hear often is: how can you bring mindfulness into your daily life?
When we’re so busy and often running on empty, adding another to-do to your already long list of tasks to get done seems impossible.
Today, we’re sharing 5 simple ways you can practice mindfulness in your daily life to enhance your happiness, improve your well-being and help maintain an inner sense of calm within yourself.
Observe your thoughts without judging them.
Recognizing our judgmental tendencies is the first step towards softening them and developing more acceptance, patience and compassion. Qualities we could all use more of.
Practice being aware and accepting of whatever thoughts comes up. Allow each moment to feel fresh and new. Give it your full attention, and full acceptance however it appears.
The goal isn’t to achieve any particular feeling, thought or state. It’s merely to observe what’s happening in the present moment.
Do your best to let go of all judgments and stories.
Each time the mind wanders and thoughts arise, practice gently, bringing it back with kindness and compassion, with complete acceptance and non-judgment.
Focus intently on the task at hand.
It’s common to perceive juggling several things at once as a talent. We have this idea that the more we take on, the more productive we are. But in truth, multitasking is neither healthy, nor effective.
Switching our focus between points of attention slows down our creative and communication processes. It’s less efficient for us to be constantly stopping and starting, changing our focus, and breaking our flow. It also makes us more prone to errors and mistakes.
Our health can be affected by multitasking too. Our efforts to accomplish too many things at once, leaves us feeling rushed, overwhelmed, tired, and stressed.
Last, the frequent act of batting our attention back and forth, programs our brain to have a short attention span. As we become less able to focus on a single task, we begin to realize how important the art of focusing is.
For all these reasons, we want to do one thing at a time whenever possible. Single tasking leaves us more focused, more effective and efficient. We’re also left with a greater peace of mind.
Whenever possible, make efforts to focus on one thing at a time in daily life.
This of course, requires mindfulness. Being aware of the task or activity you’re focusing on and resisting the urge to switch to something else. You can practice this with sacred activities that don’t require being plugged in. Things like yoga or hiking. Cooking or playing an instrument. Turn off the phone and make these connected free times. Focus on each task with complete attention.
When you’re working, clear away any distractions that might make it difficult to focus all your attention on one thing only.
Take 5 minutes several times a day to close your eyes and breathe.
Close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you. Notice the sensation of the air on your skin.
Bring all of your attention to the physical act of breathing. Start to notice the breath as it enters your body through your nose and travels to your lungs.
Notice with curiosity whether the inward and outward breaths are cool or warm, and notice where the breath travels as it enters and departs.
Your breath is an anchor. Allow it to keep you steady, and grounded, and still.
Walk outside, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature.
See if you can take even 10 or 15 minutes to practice going on a mindful walk. Whether it’ s cold or warm, wet or dry, take a bit of time and pay attention to the sights, sounds smells, texture. Feel everything outside of you and within you.
Walk slowly and attentively, focusing on the feeling of each step, not making the point to get anywhere.
Having no place to go makes it easier to be exactly where you are and tuned in to what’ s around you. See how a mindful walk can enrich your day.
Notice when your mind is in the past or future, and gently return to the present.
Purposefully paying attention is really, what mindfulness is all about.
So why is it important to train the mind to pay attention?
Well, how often do you concentrate on something and find yourself distracted? How often are you unable to sleep because you’re ruminating about something that happened in the past or something that may happen in the future? How often do you find yourself falling into an old habit because you’re on autopilot?
Developing awareness helps us catch ourselves faster when we’re distracted or caught up in thought. And as awareness strengthens we begin noticing more.
We begin actually tasting our food and fully listening in conversations. We’re able to concentrate and keep our eyes on the goal. And we’re not stuck in the past or obsessing about the future, ‘cause we’re here, in this moment. The only one that counts.
You may notice throughout the day that your mind wanders off into distractions, or thoughts of the past or future… or, there may be constant inner chatter. This is what the mind does - it gets distracted – so let go of any judgment.
As you begin to develop awareness, simply allow your thoughts to appear, and then let them gently float away like clouds crossing the sky.
Bringing this mindful awareness with you into your activities, your conversations, your day-to-day life, comes with just one catch: mindfulness takes practice.
It’s not enough to just read about it, or think about it - you actually have to apply it in order for it to work. The longer you stick with it, the easier it will become and the more benefits you’ll notice.