Even if you’re well aware of the benefits of mindfulness, it can still be difficult to find time during your day for mindfulness practice. You may regularly get distracted by commitments at work, at school, or at home, and that’s totally fine! However, you shouldn’t give up on mindful living altogether; there are many ways to practice mindfulness throughout the day. In this blog post, we will give you some tips on how you can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine so that you can start living in the present moment more regularly. We’ll consider how you can integrate mindfulness into your life by committing to a mindful lifestyle and making regular meditation a part of your daily and weekly routine. But first, let’s take a look at why you should practice mindfulness in the first place.
Why should we practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that has been around for many years. Its goal is to help people live in the present moment and be more consistently aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and values. Meditation is of course an important part of mindfulness, and it can be a vital tool in enhancing our ability to truly relax (although it’s important to note that meditation and relaxation are not the same thing). Mindfulness meditation can allow us to reduce our stress levels and let go of the angst that comes with the fast-paced world we live in. However, outside of formal practice, making an effort to integrate mindfulness into our daily activities can have huge advantages. The positive impact that mindfulness can have on our mental and physical health extends beyond what other activities such as sports and exercise offer. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits…
The Benefits of Mindfulness
What are the benefits of practising mindfulness activities throughout the day? First of all, mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and help people to deal with difficult emotions. By becoming more aware of our own thought processes and negative cycles, we can enhance our sense of emotional intelligence. Meditation and mindfulness can also lead to improved sleep, which has a huge positive impact on our physical and mental health, improving our concentration, alertness and communication skills. Aside from the health benefits, mindfulness also helps your social life, enhancing your relationships with others by boosting your levels of empathy, compassion, and understanding of others.
Being mindful can also make your everyday life and experiences more stimulating, as you learn to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and be more present each day. Again, as a result of getting in tune with your senses and learning to appreciate the simple things in life, you can build your sense of gratitude, a feeling which is heavily linked to overall happiness. Mindfulness also has a variety of practical advantages that can allow you to develop an edge in your work or studies. It can make us more focused and efficient, attributes which can be used to good effect in many areas of our life, whether it is your work, studies, or perhaps even your athletic exploits. You can check out a more in-depth outline of the benefits of mindfulness here.
How to become more mindful in your everyday life
Integrating mindfulness into your daily routine is all about developing a consistent practice. Start by trying to make time for meditation and mindful practices on a regular basis. Set aside a specific time every day to consistently spend on a mindfulness practice. This may seem difficult at first, but there are a number of ways that you can create more space in your schedule for meditation. For some specific ideas, check out this article.
Daily practice can help you become more mindful in everything you do. Get out of your head and live in the present moment, engrossing yourself in every task, whether that is your work, study, or hobbies. Use the power of habit to your advantage; the more you practice being mindful as a daily habit, the more natural it will seem. If you can stick to daily mindfulness practice for long enough and try to be mindful in everything you do, it will get to the stage where it will feel strange not to meditate and be mindful every day. So, let’s take a look at some specific techniques you can use to set you on the right path.
6 Easy Techniques to Try Today
While it is important to prioritise mindfulness and dedicate time to it each day, meditation does not have to be an inconvenient, time-consuming activity. You may be wondering if it is possible to practice a mindfulness exercise “on the go”, so to speak, while you’re at work or on the move. Because although it’s preferable to commit time to mindfulness each day, this may not always be possible. Thankfully, there are many quick, easy, and discreet mindfulness activities that you can slip into your daily routine, even if you’ve got a hectic schedule. You can check out some tips on how to meditate at work here. For now, here are some of the most useful mindfulness exercises you can use in any setting.
Five Deep Breaths
An easy method for integrating mindfulness into your daily life is to take five deep, slow breaths multiple times throughout the day. This form of meditation is so simple and discreet, yet it can be incredibly beneficial. You can do this simple exercise at any time during the day; when you wake up, when you first sit down at your desk at work, while you are on your break, at the end of your shift at work, and before you go to sleep. Right there are five instances of practicing mindfulness throughout your day that should collectively take up no more than five minutes. That may seem like a very short period of time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see the benefits of this technique. The key is consistency – you can reap the rewards of meditation by committing just five minutes a day to mindful breathing. Feel free to practice this method of breathwork intermittently throughout the day as you please – you can never take too many deep and mindful breaths. This technique can also be used as a relaxation technique to reduce your stress levels and bring you a sense of ease and calm if you are having a stressful day or experiencing negative emotions.
Developing your ability to concentrate by placing all of your focus on one task at a time is another easy way to act mindfully during your day. Again, this is a very simple practice that can be used by anybody in almost any job or situation. Avoiding distractions, zoning in and giving your undivided attention to the present moment is a great way of training yourself to be mindful in all areas of life. Regular practise of this method will make you behave more mindfully without even necessarily realising it.
Body scanning is another useful technique that can be used throughout the day. Similar to breathwork, a body scan is a form of meditation that is an effective way of re-centring your focus to the current moment. It can also be used as a relaxation technique to help you through stressful or difficult times. Although it is probably easier with your eyes closed, you can keep your eyes open when using this technique if you are in a public setting and want to be more discreet. To complete a body scan, start by becoming aware of the sensation in the top of your head, and gradually move your awareness down your entire body. During the process, pay attention to your breathing, noticing where in your body you can feel the breath. You should also become aware of any negative emotions and any tension you can feel in your body, trying to breathe slowly and ease the tension.
Listening is a hugely important element of mindful communication, and given its simplicity, it is another great way of practising mindfulness throughout your daily life. A good place to start is to make a conscious effort to pay full attention to your peers during conversations. Here are a few simple techniques that will significantly improve your ability to practise mindful listening:
- Put your phone away when speaking to someone, and don’t check it or pick it up during an interaction (you should follow this rule at all times)
- Work on making eye contact with your peers. This is a great way to train yourself to be present in the moment and stay engaged when someone is speaking.
- Let the other person finish speaking before you speak. This is an effective means of training yourself to be present and engaged in conversation, rather than constantly thinking ahead to what you are going to say next.
Appreciate the Simple Pleasures
Making an effort to enjoy the simple pleasures in life is one of the best ways to accomplish everyday mindfulness. In the fast-paced world we live in, it is not often that we take the time to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. Take that first sip of hot tea or coffee on a cold morning as an example, the sip that gives you a little kick of energy and starts to warm your body up and get you ready for the day. These kinds of mindful moments can be immensely beneficial. Whether it be delicious food, taking a bath, spending time in nature, or reading a book, we all have different things that bring us joy. Identify those simple pleasures in life and cherish them! Get in touch with your senses by experiencing and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells around you – this is one of the most natural ways you can be mindful each day.
Meditation apps such as Headspace can be very helpful in assisting your mindfulness training. These apps eliminate much of the hassle involved in practising mindfulness. It can be difficult to navigate your way through the early stages of your mindfulness journey, when you may be unsure of what exercises you should be doing, when to do them, how often to do them, and so on. Meditation apps can help keep you on track with personal programmes and guided meditation sessions. Why not take all the help you can get?
Embrace the Mindful Lifestyle – Main Takeaway Points
Committing to regular meditation practice, practising simple exercises in breathing or listening, and making a conscious effort to be mindful and empathetic in everything you do will help turn mindfulness into a natural habit. Embrace nature, enjoy simple pleasures like a sip of coffee, and try to experience each moment fully. In addition to such simple mindful activities, you should take a few seconds throughout the day to perform short and discreet forms of meditation, such as taking five deep breaths or doing a body scan. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process; this kind of discreet practice can be done throughout the day. If you feel like it would be beneficial, use meditation apps such as Headspace to support your mindfulness journey. These kinds of apps offer guided meditation and mindfulness reminders that are suited to you, removing the burden of scheduling and conducting your own daily meditation. Take these tips on board, and you’ll be well on the way to making mindfulness a part of your daily life.
MindOwl Founder – My own struggles in life have led me to this path of understanding the human condition. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy before completing a master’s degree in psychology at Regent’s University London. I then completed a postgraduate diploma in philosophical counselling before being trained in ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy).
I’ve spent the last eight years studying the encounter of meditative practices with modern psychology.