There’s a good chance you’ve heard about mindfulness. You may even have even watched a documentary on how it can bring abundance into your life, or perhaps you’ve tried your hand at mindfulness meditation. But did you know that the simplest way to begin practicing mindfulness is by bringing it into your daily routine?
Mindfulness is the act of living in the present. It is normal for our minds to constantly be preoccupied by thoughts. Whether we are planning the errands we need to run, thinking about what we’re craving for lunch, or dreaming about where we’d rather be at that moment, it is actually more common for us to be paying attention to something other than what we are presently doing.
By practicing mindfulness, we practice bringing ourselves back to the present. In doing so, we are able to truly experience every moment of our daily lives. This allows us to slow down, to be less impulsive, and to enjoy the “little things” in life that we often miss.
You don’t have to be a yogi to live a mindful life. Here are a few simple ways to bring mindfulness into your daily routine.
Begin Your Morning Mindfully
Your morning routine can set the course for the entire day, so it only makes sense to begin your day mindfully. Regardless of the events of the day ahead, there are a few key ways to begin with a strong and mindful start:
- Wake up at a set time. This time can be adjusted to fit your unique schedule, but the important part is to keep it consistent. This will get your body used to getting up at that time and will make the process easier and more enjoyable.
- Meditate/Set your intention. Meditation is certainly a great way to become more mindful in life, but it can begin with something as simple as setting a daily intention. Sit with a straight back, core engaged. Consider the ways in which you can get the most fulfillment out of your day. Include things such as what you can do for others and how you can best handle a negative situation. Setting your intended mindset for the day will help you maintain it even as life tries to interfere.
- Move your body. One of the best ways to feel awake and energized is to physically get energy flowing throughout your body. A quick morning workout is ideal, but even a few simple stretches can help get your blood flowing. This will also loosen up tight muscles to help prevent stiffness later on.
- Drink water. It hydrates us, it wakes us up, and it prepares our metabolism for the day.
Engage the Five Senses
Our senses are the best tools for bringing a wandering mind back to the present moment. Any sense will work, and this practice can be used with almost any task throughout the day. It simply requires us to focus on the specific sensations of what we’re doing.
If you are doing the dishes, focus on the feel of the water on your hands and the sponge moving across the dishes. When you’re walking your dog, focus on the sounds of birds in the trees or on picking out the individual sounds of busy street traffic. When eating, take a moment to slow down and truly focus on all of the flavors and textures of the food you’re consuming.
The saying “in one ear and out the next” is a great description of a brain on autopilot. There may be times when someone tries to tell us something, and we may hear words being spoken, but our brains are so preoccupied with other things that none of what is being said actually registers.
Practicing mindfulness is practicing being present. Whenever someone speaks to you, practice mindful listening by stopping whatever else you are doing and placing your undivided attention on the conversation.
If you find your mind wandering, bring it back to the conversation as soon as you notice. Using physical and verbal responses, such as head nods and sounds of agreement as the person is speaking, are also useful; they will not only show the speaker that you’re paying attention, but it will help keep your focus as well.
Come Back to Breath
Stress and frustration can quickly take over our minds and our moods. By practicing mindfulness, we learn to pause, to truly assess the current situation, and to act with our heads rather than react with our emotions.
Whenever you feel yourself getting worked up from anger, frustration, or stress, bring your mind back to your breath.
Our body’s physical response to stress is often an increased heart rate and shallow breathing. By taking deep, controlled breaths, we reverse the physical effects of the stress, allowing our brains to think more clearly and for us to make more mindful decisions.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.