How to improve your life with everyday mindfulness. Featuring simple mindful activities that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
Practising Mindfulness Isn’t Just About Meditation
I mean, meditation is a huge part of mindfulness of course, but almost everything we do in our daily lives can be done in a mindful way.
In an ideal world we would all be able to spend hours meditating and bringing peace to our lives but real life doesn’t always allow for that.
But don’t worry you don’t have to kiss mindfulness goodbye. This is where everyday mindfulness comes in. All it requires is that we be more aware and more present as we go about our lives.
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10 Everyday Mindfulness Activities
Wake Up With Purpose
Try to wake up a bit earlier each morning. This gives you more time to be mindful. As you waken think about how you are grateful for that day. Do some gentle stretches, eat a healthy breakfast and do something that makes you smile. This could be listening to music, reading a few pages of a book, or writing in your journal.
Think about the joy you are going to find in that day and state a clear intention, something that you are going to achieve no matter how small.
Taking time like this will equip you for the day ahead.
Take A Mindfulness Shower
Your shower is the perfect place to practice mindfulness. You are alone, in peace and the chances are for at least 10 minutes nobody is going to disturb you.
Really feel the water as it hits your body. What’s the pressure? What temperature is it? Be aware of each part of your body as you wash it. Really notice the smell of your soap or body wash and your shampoo. Focus on your breath as you shower.
As you dry, again be aware of your body and of each item of clothing as you dress.
Create A Morning Coffee Ritual
I must admit I am very guilty of putting the coffee on in the morning with my eyes practically shut. Grabbing a quick cup and drinking it while running round the house doing everything that needs to be done. But I’m trying to change all that.
Don’t just do everything on autopilot, be present. When preparing your coffee be aware of each step. Notice the smell while it is brewing then take time to sit and drink it using your favourite mug. Savouring the taste of each sip. This is fast becoming an extremely important ritual to me as I feel I am taking time to think and organise the the day ahead.
Obviously there are certain mindfulness techniques that you can’t put into practice whilst driving. You can’t close your eyes or focus only on your breath, but there are some things you can do whilst driving safely.
Turn off the music and enjoy the silence. This will increase your awareness and leave you calmer and more focused.
Be aware of your posture whilst driving. Are you tensing muscles, or clenching your jaw as you concentrate? Once you are aware of this you can let the muscles relax and have a much more comfortable experience.
Try not to be in so much of a hurry and to be more aware and considerate of the traffic around you.
When you stop at traffic lights, take that moment for a few calm deep breaths.
In my full time job I don’t always get a lot of time to eat. Sometimes it just can’t be helped, it’s the nature of the job. I’m running about grabbing a few bites here and there or I eat in the car during a 5 minute break. None of this is good for you, so as often as I can I try to take the time to sit and properly enjoy my food.
First of all, be sure you are eating for the right reasons. Are you actually hungry or is this just an emotional response? If you are eating because you are upset or just because you are bored then alternative activities can be found to address that emotion.
Don’t eat too fast, take your time. Chew your food properly and savour each mouthful. Take a gap between each bite, it’s much easier for your mind to be aware that your body is full. Be aware of the different tastes and textures of your meal and notice the smell of the food.
Think about the food you are eating. Where did it come from, what processes did it have to go through? How was it grown/prepared? How much work went into getting that food onto your plate?
Try to plan your mealtimes. Eat at regular times and places. Try to sit down at a table using the correct plates and utensils (no eating out of the carton). Eating with others is also good as it allows you to slow your eating down and have a conversation.
Check Your Email Mindfully
Computer screens tend to zone us out. We skim through emails and don’t pay close attention to what we are reading.
We actually need to be more attentive with emails as they can often be misread or misinterpreted as we can’t see the other person to read non verbal cues. It is easy to become disconnected when you are just looking at a screen so please try to remember that you are communicating with another person and maintain a connection.
Take a breath and visualise the person who wrote the email as you are reading and replying to it. Always check your email before sending it.
Try to limit the amount of times you check your emails in a day. It’s easy for your emails to become a distraction.
Also, try to lose all the spammy stuff, unsubscribe from emails that you never read and just clutter up your inbox.
Take A Mindfulness Walk
Walking is a really easy way to include mindfulness into your daily routine. This doesn’t have to be a 5 mile hike. The 10 minute walk to the bus stop will work just as well.
Walk at a natural pace and be aware of your posture. Focus on your movements, the lift and fall of your feet. Always be aware of the environment around you so you can stay safe as you walk.
If you can, stop for a minute. Now you can really take in your environment. Are you surrounded by buildings? Are there people around you? Are there trees next to you, what colour are the leaves? Reach out and feel the texture. Be aware of every detail of your surroundings what can you hear? What can you smell?
Now carry on walking, noticing everything around you. As you reach your destination bring the focus back to your feet and your bodies movements.
Once you have finished your walk, take a moment just to breathe.
We interact with a lot of people on a daily basis. Whenever you do so try to be fully present for the conversation.
Pay close attention to what is being said to you and try not to let your mind wander. If you can try not to multi task during a conversation, it’s very hard to pay close attention to what someone is saying while you are checking your emails.
Listen closely to what is being said. Don’t just hear it, understand it. Show interest in the conversation, nod or smile and show encouragement. Express curiosity and ask appropriate questions. Make it clear to the person you are talking to that you are invested in the conversation.
Write Down Your Intentions For The Following Day
Take time each night to write in a notebook or journal Reflect on the day that has just passed and set clear intentions for what you want to achieve the following day.
Stating that you intend to do something is much more powerful than simply wanting or planning to do it. Once you have the clear statement in your mind you are much more likely to follow through with the intention.
Writing your intentions down also enforces the intention much more than if you just held it in your head. It’s almost like a contract with yourself.
Create A Mindful Environment For Sleep
Believe it or not we spend a very high percentage of our time in our bedrooms, yet most of us spare no thought to the impact that environment will have on us and our ability to sleep well.
Try not to let in too much natural light in during the summer months when the sun can rise at 4 am. Thicker curtains and blinds should help reduce this.
Give yourself plenty of space to move around as you prepare for bed and when you get up in morning. Clutter gives us a sense of chaos rather than the calm that is essential for a good nights sleep.
Regulate your temperature according to the season, thick quilts in winter and thinner blankets or sheets during the summer. We all know what it’s like trying to sleep when it’s too hot and the sweat is dripping off you. Using a fan (or heater) for a couple of hours will help regulate the temperature before you go to sleep.
Your comfort is very important when it comes to sleeping well. Make sure you have a good quality mattress, pillows that support your neck and loose, comfortable clothing. Lastly I recommend that you turn off all technology at least an hour before bed. Choose an activity that is less stimulating for your mind so you can relax before you fall asleep.
I don’t recommend trying all of these mindfulness activities at once. Take your time, choose 1 or 2 to start with and build up gradually.
How do you incorporate mindfulness into your day?
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