How many times have you driven somewhere and arrived at your destination to have no recollection of even driving there? Or sat down to enjoy lunch only to suddenly be aware of an empty plate in front of you? Too often, our minds are on autopilot as we cruise through our lives only partially aware of the moments around us. These are just a few classic examples of mindlessness. Mindfulness is essentially the opposite of autopilot. That feeling of go-go-go can be exhausting and cause us to feel disconnected from ourselves and those around us. One of the things that people often ask is, “how can I add more mindfulness into my life?”
Fortunately taking a few moments of mindfulness daily can be a wonderful way to breathe calm, ease and energy into our lives. Keep reading as I’m sharing 13 ways to weave mindfulness into your everyday routine!
What Is Mindfulness And Why Is It Important?
Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally bringing our attention to the present moment. Mindfulness allows you to be fully immersed and present in our lives and has immense physical and mental health benefits. Practicing mindfulness daily often leads to increased attention, to improved sense of well-being, and an increase of happiness for many. A consistent mindfulness practice can be incredibly helpful with alleviating anxiety, depression and can be wonderful for decreasing and managing stress. Mindfulness allows you to not only to carefully tune into the world around you, but also to hone in on what’s going on inside your own body, heart and mind.
When practicing mindfulness it allows you to be more present and to be here now in the present moment. To rest in the awareness of now and let go of the feeling of needing to change anything. Taking daily moments of mindfulness allows you to become more attuned and aware of what you are sensing and feeling. This awareness can be integral to allowing you to fully savor and appreciate all those amazing moments in life, while also helping you cope more readily during difficult moments.
There are so many different types of mindfulness practices and endless ways to weave them into your daily routine. A few of the most common mindfulness practices are:
- Breath Awareness
- Body Scan
- Mindful Movement
- Mindful Listening
- Mindful Eating
- Walking Meditation
- Loving Kindness
- Sitting Meditation
- Mindful Meditation
- Gratitude Meditation
You don’t need to spend long periods of time meditating or doing mindfulness exercises to reap the benefits of mindfulness. Even just a few minutes a day can lead to decreased stress, more awareness and a deeper connection to yourself. Explore the everyday tips and strategies below to help you breathe space and mindfulness into your daily routine.
13 Ways To Add Mindfulness Into Your Daily Routine
Before Getting Out Of Bed
Practicing gratitude mindfulness at the very start of your day is an amazing way to set the tone of your day. When you awake, pause and take a deep breath (even if that means that you don’t have a chance . Take a moment to make a mental list of those things and people which you are grateful for. As the day goes on and you interact with these things or people, reflect on how taking this moment of grateful mindfulness in the morning helps to shift your perception of these things throughout the day. Taking a few moments of gratitude in the morning helps facilitate a greater sense of appreciation.
Morning Ritual With Coffee or Tea
Adding mindfulness to your daily routine is made easy when you pair it with something you do everyday. Taking a coffee or tea mindful break is a simple and quick (under 5 minutes) way to add mindfulness to your mornings. To do, sit in a comfortable area. Hold your cup with both of your hands and use your senses to notice the different sensations: the warmth on your hands, the texture of your mug, the smell radiating from your cup. Pause and notice how your body responds to these stimuli. Finally, take that first sip and linger on the taste and sensations.
Eating mindfully is a wonderful way to reconnect to foods and the simple pleasure of eating. When you sit down for a meal or snack, take away all distractions (cell phones, turn off the TV, etc). Focus on the experience of eating your food and what’s on your plate. Be curious like a child and really look at your food – the shapes, colors, smells, textures. Eat slowly and mindfully with small bites and really hone in on the flavors and textures of your foods. Take it a step further and think about the path of your food from farm to plate and how others have been involved along the way.
In The Pause: Breath Awareness
When you find that you have a few moments of waiting, such as arriving a few minutes early at the bus stop or waiting for a meeting to start, take those moments of pause to reconnect. These moments between the everyday chaos are great opportunities to practice mindfulness. Breath awareness is a great practice. Sit up tall in your seat, close your eyes and take a few slow inhales and exhales. Feel your shoulders release and fall down your back. Unclench your jaw and continue to focus on the breath for several minutes. Thoughts will creep in, acknowledge them and let them go as you refocus back on the breath. Continue for as long as time allows.
Zoom or Desk Break with Mindful Movement
When feeling tense or in need of refocusing, take a few moments of mindful movement. Do some gentle stretching or yoga that focuses on the neck, shoulders, back and hips to relieve tension and stress. Link breath with movement to further facilitate mindfulness.
Human connection has immense powers in bringing us back to the present. The three-breath mindful hug break is something that I’ve often used with my children when they were feeling overwhelmed or upset (for mindfulness child info, check out these children’s mindfulness books), but I find that it works when used with a partner and is a wonderful way to end your day with connection to others while also bringing on a sense of calm and connection for all that are involved. To begin, hug your child/partner and as you do, take in three long, slow and mindful breaths together. Feel your bodies calm and shoulders drop down your back as tension and anxiety releases.
Mindful prompts can be a great way to remind yourself to check in and practice mindfulness throughout your day. Choose an object or place post-it notes with reminders or intentions to shift your brain and body back into mindfulness.
For many of us, to-do lists are part of our everyday routine. It allows us to get all thoughts and items out and onto paper, so we don’t inadvertently forget something important. A monstrous list can often take you away from what you’re currently working on to frantically attempt to move onto another item. That rushing feeling disconnects you from the present and makes living mindfully incredibly difficult.
The next time you look at your list, stop and take a pause. Take in a deep breath and notice the feelings that arise in your body from examining your list. Are you overwhelmed or excited? Feeling productive? Is your heart rate increasing or are your shoulders tensing? These moments to pause and check-in allow you to prioritize what is really necessary and determine what can be moved to another day.
Change Your Environment
A simple change in your environment can be a great way to bring forth more awareness when feeling stressed, overwhelmed, sad or low energy. Whether it means you sneak in a quick walk or move lunch outside, diffuse essential oils, open the blinds or play music, small changes can cue your senses to become more aware.
Learn to Meditate
Practicing meditation daily is one of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life. While mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, by anyone, at any time and focuses on noticing the here and now, meditation is a bit different. Meditation is a more formal and typically seated practice with the intention of focusing inward. There are so many amazing apps (Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer are a few that are highly recommended) and resources that can guide you through formal practices.
Mindful walking can be done anywhere, but I especially love taking this practice outside. You can take this break while walking to the bus stop, to your mailbox or through the office. During mindful walking, you focus solely on walking without letting your mind wander as we usually do as we stroll (your grocery list can wait until later). As you walk, notice the sensations and how your body automatically knows what to do. Take note of the sensations of your feet on the ground (this is wonderful to do barefoot outside), the feeling of your clothes on your body, the breeze as your blows by and your surroundings.
Schedule 5 Minutes of “Nothing Time”
In this constant on-the-go society, we often over schedule ourselves. I invite you to schedule “nothing time” – even just 5 minutes a day. Take those moments to just sit and be. You’ll be amazed at the beauty and abundance that you’ll notice when you take a moment to step and notice it all.
Bedtime Body Scan
If you’re one of those people who toss and turn when they get into bed or have thoughts floating around, a body scan is a wonderful way to bring calm, tune into your body and find relaxation to allow you to fall asleep quicker. To begin, lie on your back in a comfortable position. Take several intentional breaths to check into your body. Then, tense all the muscles in your body (flex feet, pull shoulders tight to ears, hands into fists, etc.) on a long inhale and on an exhale release your muscles.
Beginning at the feet, envision and relax the tensed muscles. You can envision the muscles relaxing as the oxygen flows to those areas. Notice any sensations that you may have in those areas whether it is tightness, aches, or warm, and continue to relax muscles throughout the scan. Keep moving upwards in your body, to your calf, knees, thighs, hips, and so on until you reach the top of your head. The visualization and deep breaths often can bring on a sense of calm while also allowing you to thoroughly check into your body.
Mindfulness is something that can easily be added into anyone’s lifestyle with just a little bit of effort. I hope that these tips can help you find more mindful moments in your day.