You’re probably no stranger to begin caught up in your thoughts. Maybe you have trouble falling asleep at night because your mind just won’t shut off. Or perhaps you get called out by others when you’re off in another world while they’re trying to talk to you.
If you tend to be consumed by thinking about the past or worried about the future, implementing mindfulness into your daily life is something you may want to consider. But first, let's explore what living mindfully is.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is essentially being present in the moment. It’s being attentive to the here and now. It’s different from meditation in that meditation requires you to stop, quiet your mind, practice deep breathing and go within.
Mindfulness, or conscious living, on the other hand, is something you can practice all day as you go about your daily tasks.
Good For Your Health
Research shows that those who are caught up in their thoughts, ruminating about the past or fretting about the future, tend to live anxious-filled lives. They are more likely to struggle with feelings of sadness, depression and low self-worth.
On the other hand, studies also show that those who implement mindfulness into their daily lives report feeling less stressed and happier. A simple technique for mindful living is to focus on your breathing.
By drawing your attention to inhaling and exhaling, you not only increase your oxygen (leading to many physical health benefits) but you also tend to think less about things that may worry you (improved mental state). Other mindful living benefits include:
lowered stress and anxiety
more frequent feelings of gratitude and joy
improved relationship with others
a greater sense of peace
increased mental clarity
The beautiful thing is that living mindfully is a lot easier than you might think. You don't have to meditate for hours, walk around with a mini gong, or whistle while you work (although, that sounds fun). You can simply practice the following.
5 ways to incorporate mindful living into your daily routine
One way to practice more mindfulness daily is to pay attention to how you’re showing up for others when they talk to you. It’s easy to get distracted when someone is talking, especially if you’re not interested in the topic.
It's much harder to devote the focus and attention required to actively listen. This considerate act not only helps you practice living mindfully, but it can also strengthen your relationships while you're at it.
As you aim to live more mindfully, monitor how present you are for others during the day. Are you really listening to them? Can you keep your attention on them? Have your thoughts floated away and can you bring your focus back to the present moment? Give it a try. This simple change can mean the world to others and help YOU live mindfully.
Practice Intentional Mindfulness
A fun way to train your mind on how to live more in the present moment is to use a timer! Start small, maybe 1 or 2 minutes a handful of times per day, then gradually increase it as your abilities increase. Set a timer while washing the dishes, driving a car and bathing. In those moments, focus on your breathing while also tuning into bodily sensations and your surroundings.
While bathing, bring your attention to the softness and temperature of the water running over your skin. While driving, fully experience the bumps in the road, the hum of the engine and the sights around you. As time progresses, you'll find you need the timer as a reminder a lot less.
Do you eat on autopilot while watching television? You may get so caught up in other things that you don’t even realize how delicious your food is. You can incorporate mindful, conscious living into your routine nicely by eating mindfully. To do this you’ll want limit distractions and sit in a quiet location.
Become fully aware of what you’re eating. Look at the food on your plate, watch it as you pick it up with your utensil and keep your attention on the eating experience as you chew the food and swallow. Focus on how the food tastes and how grateful you are for it. Eat slower, really being present in the experience.
Become A Thought Observer
At various times throughout the day, observe your thoughts. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing. Just pause and bring your attention to your mind. Observe the types of thoughts that you were just thinking about. As you bring your attention to your thoughts, you are automatically being mindful. You’re in the moment. You’re not letting the thoughts run on autopilot, which can help you feel more grounded and present for yourself and others.
If this step feels especially challenging or you find yourself fretting about the same things often, start a thought journal. Take just 5 minutes to write down what you were thinking about. Maybe you feel compelled to list a few things you could do about the problem. Maybe you write out what you'd say to a person if you had the opportunity to speak your mind. Maybe you forgive and forget as you print your feelings on paper.
You can use gratitude to experience more mindful, conscious living as well. Take some time throughout the day to bring your attention to how grateful you are. One way to do this is to pause in whatever room you’re in and look around.
Mentally offer gratitude and feel the lightness of joy in your heart for the things or people in the room. Verbally speak a moment of gratitude immediately upon waking for the simple gift of being alive another beautiful day. Spiritually, connect with the emotion of joy and gratitude as you say a prayer, affirmation or blessing.
Naturally, as you learn how to live mindfully, you expand your consciousness. You bring awareness to your emotions, breathing and thoughts which can multiply in benefits quickly.
It can help you to better understand who you are, why you respond the way you do and what potential changes you could make to nurture your own growth.
Would you like to increasingly infuse mindfulness in your daily routine?