Bringing everyday mindfulness into your life can help clear your mind and bring your attention to the things that matter most. There are many opportunities to find mindful moments, or moments filled with care, focus, and attention on the present in your daily life. If you are interested in small ways to be more mindful, try bringing mindfulness to some of these everyday moments.
Why Practice Everyday Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic ability to be present (aware of where you are and what you are doing) and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by the world around you. Mindfulness may mean focusing your attention on a single task such as brushing your teeth or climbing the stairs, or being fully present in a given moment by limiting distractions and actively participating in the activity at hand. Benefits of mindfulness according to the Positive Psychology Program include:
- Decreased stress. Studies show those who practice mindfulness were better at coping with stress rather than avoiding it, and better at regulating their mood and emotions in stressful situations.
- Reduced anxiety. Positive Psychology Program’s research shows that mindfulness helps people lower their heart rate and blood pressure, and feel calm and in control.
- Increased ability to deal with illness. In studies with both cancer patients and those with chronic back pain, individuals who practiced mindfulness worried less, had lower stress levels, and were able to focus less on pain and more on positive things.
- Better overall health. Studies from Positive Psychology Program found those who practice mindfulness are less likely to partake in nicotine, alcohol and other substances that take a toll on one’s health. They were also more likely to engage in healthy practices such as exercise, regular health checkups, and a balanced diet.
Moments That Change With Everyday Mindfulness
Finding ways to incorporate everyday mindfulness into your life can change your daily experiences and perspective on life. The following examples are few simple moments that can change forever when everyday mindfulness is incorporated.
1. Drinking Your Morning Coffee
Practicing mindfulness during your daily dining can be an easy way to have more mindful moments. Rather than rushing through your morning coffee, lunch, or afternoon snack, slow down and incorporate mindful eating practices into dining experience. Try some of the following:
- Limit distractions such as phones and television while eating or drinking.
- Have your family eat in silence for the first few minutes of a meal. This can let everyone dine in silence, focusing on their food and limiting distractions.
- Check in with your body while eating to help focus on the moment. Are you full? Are you thirsty? Assessing how you are feeling while eating can help you eat mindfully rather than rushing through your meals.
- Think about multiple aspects of your food such as smell, texture, and temperature. How do these flavors make you feel? Take some time to focus on each flavor to be present and mindful while dining.
2. Taking an Afternoon Walk
Mindful moments in nature can give you a new appreciation for your surroundings. Whether you are hiking in the great outdoors or strolling around your neighborhood park, finding even a small patch of nature can help you experience everyday mindfulness. Try some of the following ways to be mindful in nature:
- Experience nature through multiple senses: listen to the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet, touch tree bark, and take in the smells of the natural world. Doing so can help bring your attention to the present moment and place.
- Turn off your phone, or leave it on Do Not Disturb mode. Taking a break from technology can help focus your attention on your surroundings and not let your awareness wander elsewhere.
- Think about how places you visit frequently look different at various times of year, and bring your awareness to the beauty of seasonal change.
3. Saying Thank You
Parents may tell their children to “remember to say please and thank you.” These words can get so ingrained in our heads that they lose meaning and are said out of habit rather than out of gratitude. Being mindful in everyday interactions, such as saying thank you, can make you more thankful for various aspects of your life. Try some of the following ways to practice everyday mindfulness through expressing gratitude:
- Start a gratitude journal. This is a simple journal where you write down things you are thankful for: people, experiences, opportunities, your pets, and anything else that comes to mind.
- Do not hold back your gratitude; when someone does something you appreciate, tell them so, even if it is something small. Even better, write them a thank you note so they remember your kind words for years to come.
- Take a gratitude walk. This is a simple practice that involves taking a slow walk and thinking about something you are thankful for with every step. This practice can help refocus your thinking on positive aspects of your life, and give your mind a break from the world around you.
For more mindfulness tips from Cody, check out how to clear negative energy from your home.