Wherever you are, take a pause. If you can, close your eyes.
Inhale, and then exhale.
Now open your eyes. How did that feel? Do you feel a little more grounded? Present? If your answer is yes, congratulations—you’ve just practiced a little bit of mindfulness! It didn’t take long, did it?
This is largely what mindfulness is—slowing down in order to be present and fully in the now. Anyone can practice mindfulness, too, and it’s proven to have positive impacts on your mood, stress levels, overall happiness, and more. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine, and today I’ll cover seven.
1. Be more intentional
Life gets hectic—it’s just a fact. When it feels like things are coming at you at a million miles per hour, stop and take a deep breath. Instead of getting caught up in the storm of life, ground yourself with intentional thinking. Remind yourself that each day, there are opportunities for stillness if you choose to lean into them. For example, when you wake up in the morning, allow a few minutes to pass before checking your phone. If you’re waiting in line somewhere, try some breathing exercises.
Making the decision to slow down and be intentional about how you spend the in-between moments will help you be more mindful everyday.
If you’ve never meditated before, don’t be intimidated. Meditation is meant to be simple with no right or wrong approach. It’s all about what works best for you.
Find a quiet, comfortable space. If you’re a newbie, try listening to meditation music or use an app like Calm or Headspace. Meditate every few days for a few minutes at a time. Slowly, you’ll build up your meditation routine and discover the best method for you. After all, meditation is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness!
3. Eat healthy
Food is medicine—it has the ability to provide real nourishment rather than just satisfy your hunger, and it has the potential to be an activity in mindfulness.
If you’re able, head to your local farmers market and select foods you feel good about—ones that are tasty and healthy. Carve out time each week to slow down and make a home-cooked meal. Doing these little things can help you be mindful about how important and powerful food can be. It’s also an opportunity to try something new and be present while doing so.
4. Take in your surroundings
Where are you? Is it noisy or quiet? Are you inside or outside? Take in your surroundings through the five senses. Now, take a deep breath and think about how this external environment is making you feel, as well as how it may be affecting your internal environment. Doing a simple self-check in like this is a great way to ground yourself back to the present moment.
5. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude helps you focus on all the things you do have, rather than worrying about what you don’t. Try writing in a journal and making a list of things you’re grateful for. It can be anything from gratitude for your friends and family to being thankful for a great cup of coffee. Practicing a little daily gratitude can help put things into perspective and give you a sense of contentment for all the positive things in your life
6. Take care of your body
It can be easy to overlook your body when it comes to mindfulness. After all, isn’t mindfulness about the mind? Technically yes, but the body plays an equally important role. This is because how your body feels and is being treated can have a major impact on how you feel emotionally and in turn, your ability to be mindful. Each day, be mindful of your body and how it feels. If you’re carrying tension, relax your muscles. If you’re feeling stiff, try to find ways to get your body moving.
7. Take care of your mind
Your mind is a powerful thing. By incorporating simple mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, you’re likely to see small, positive changes over time. Bringing awareness to how you’re feeling—without judgment—will allow space for your emotions to just be. Just like the body, the mind can be trained to be present and aware. A little mindfulness can go a long way.