According to Mindful.org, mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present in each moment, be aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. You are not stressing about past events or worrying about the future, you are simply living in and focusing on the current moment. What many people do not realize is that this is a natural ability that everyone has, you just have to chose to practice it. Another common misconception is that mindfulness only occurs in the form of a meditation session. While meditation Is a great choice for practicing mindfulness, it is not the only way. There are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness, and some only take 5 minutes or less!
Practicing Mindfulness on a Busy Schedule
Listed below are five ways you can work mindfulness into your daily routine, even on your busiest days!
1. Take a Pause: Whether it is first thing in the morning, on your lunch break, or even when you get up to go to the restroom, taking a mental and physical pause is a great way to slow down all the thoughts racing through your head. Try closing your eyes and take several deep breaths. Focus on your breathing; the way the air feels and how your body moves with each breath. This short spurt of mindfulness is enough to reduce stress levels and increase creativity and productivity.
2. Savor Your Morning Coffee: After you wake up and prepare your morning beverage, sit down and enjoy it. Even it it’s only for a few minutes. Think about the way it tastes and really savor each sip. Not only will this allow you to enjoy your beverage even more, but this small act of using your senses to pull yourself back into your body will set the tone for your entire day.
3. Take a Mindful Walk: Throughout the day, make sure to take at least one mindful walk. It can be around your house or office, a short walk around the neighborhood, or even just the walk to your car. Pay full attention to how you are walking; the way each leg moves, the way your feet touch the ground and then lift off again, the way your arms move with each step, etc. If you practice mindfulness on longer walks, you will get the added benefit of physical and mental exercise.
4. Practice Gratitude: Gratitude plays a big part in being mindful. Throughout your day, take a few small moments to express gratitude. This can be before eating a meal, when you come home to your loved ones in the evening, when you see a friend, or even when you are getting ready for bed. This little behavior change can drastically improve your mood and lead you to appreciate life’s little moments.
5. Slow Down at Bed Time: Disconnect from your phone and take few minutes to just slow down. Follow your breathing as it goes in and out, notice your thoughts, and then let them dissolve out of your mind. Doing this before bed each night allows you to fall asleep faster and have a more peaceful night’s sleep.
For more information on practicing mindfulness, visit Mindful.org!