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Show Up for Yourself throughout the Day with these 7 Simple Mindfulness Practices

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Reduce stress. Improve clarity. Promote happiness. While you may be familiar with mindfulness’ countless physical and emotional benefits, finding time for this supposedly calm-inducing activity can, ironically, be a stressful endeavor. Carving out space in your packed-like-a-rush-hour-subway-train schedule to sit still and appreciate the present moment can feel like a luxury you can’t afford.

But not for long. Because you’re about to discover how to bring awareness into things you're already doing, enabling you to practice mindfulness without stressing about finding additional time in your day.

#1: Waking up 

What’s the first thing you do upon waking up? If, like 71% of Americans, you reach for your phone, consider this: in most cases, checking your phone only leads you down a rabbit hole of mindless scrolling, double-tapping, and trivia-searching. So, why not spend those precious minutes practicing mindfulness instead?

  • Upon waking, sit in your bed in a relaxed posture. Resist the urge to touch your phone.
  • Quiet your mind. Connect with the sensations of your body.
  • Let your breath settle into its own rhythm. Pay attention to its regularity. If you’d like, put one hand on your belly to tune into the tactile sensations of your inhales and exhales.
  • Set your intention for the day — e.g., “Today, I will be patient with others.”

#2: Showering 

Forget showers taken on autopilot. Instead, start thinking of your shower time as the perfect opportunity to get clean and practice mindfulness. Two birds with one stone — nice. Once you hop into the shower, concentrate on your senses:

  • Feel the water running down your skin.
  • Notice how the room smells.
  • Listen to the rushing sound of water.

#3: Eating 

How do you eat? Do you scarf your food down, or munch while watching TV or scrolling your phone? Try practicing mindfulness during your meals. The three S's to remember are: slow down, savor, and simplify. Don't just shovel food into your mouth; instead, eat with intention. Chew your food thoroughly. Use all your senses in the process. Pay attention to its taste, texture, smell, and temperature. And to simplify means to remove distractions. Make it a policy to ditch digital devices when you're eating.

#4: Exercising 

How can you practice mindfulness while exercising? Answer: by focusing on the sensations in your body while it moves. For example, during a run, think about:

  • How you’re breathing
  • How your arms are swinging
  • Which part of the foot is landing on the ground first (e.g., heels or toes)
  • What's working the hardest (e.g., your quads or calves?)

#5: Commuting

How do you keep yourself occupied when getting from point A to point B? If you drive, do you listen to podcasts? And if you take public transportation, do you hop onto social media platforms? Consider practicing mindfulness instead. If you:

  • Drive: Be aware of your body’s sensations as you drive. Feel your hands on the steering wheel, the contact between your body and the seat, and your foot on the pedal. Keep your attention on the road. 
  • Take public transportation: A quiet bus or subway is the perfect place to practice breathing exercises. Inhale deeply for three seconds and slowly exhale for three seconds. Use your breath as an anchor. When you find your thoughts wandering, come back to your breath, then repeat inhaling and exhaling.

#6: Taking a break

As little breathing space as there may be in your schedule, you’re bound to have time for at least one (or two) short breaks. These are perfect opportunities to practice mindfulness. Beyond breathwork, you could also try the body scan exercise:

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through the mouth.
  • As you breathe out, notice how your body feels.
  • Starting at the top of your head, gently scan down through the body, noticing what feels comfortable and what feels uncomfortable.
  • Take about 20 to 30 seconds on each body part, then finally stop when you reach your toes.

#7: Listening to others

When someone is talking to you, are you hearing what they’re saying — or are you listening in anticipation of responding? To practice mindful listening:

  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Put away your devices.
  • Pay attention to the other person’s body language and tone.
  • Be patient.
  • Focus on what the speaker is saying instead of formulating a response; 

Psst: interested in learning more about how you could incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine? Check out the following articles:

 

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