How to Practice Mindfulness in Daily Life
Some people think living mindfully is all about establishing a regular meditation practice, or being prayerful, or learning to overcome addiction and/or deal with mental health issues. These are just a handful of the forms in which mindfulness makes itself available to us. But, the key thing to realize is that this powerful life tool is always available. It’s not just reserved for the time you spend in meditation, or when you need to rely on self-awareness and self-motivation to overcome a relapse temptation. Mindfulness is best used when you learn how to make it a part of everything you do.
Here are a few ways you can create more space for mindfulness every day.
1. Establish a Morning Routine
The way you start your day has a huge effect on how the rest of the day plays out. This is not to say, if you have a great morning you’re invincible to anything that could go wrong, or if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s doomed to be a horrible day. But, there is some serious value in making the most of your morning. Whether you wake up at 5 A.M., 8 A.M., or even noon, the time just after you open your eyes matters.
Use it wisely. Wake your mind and body up with intentional activities day in and day out. Maybe your morning routine looks like a big breakfast and setting aside time to enjoy your coffee with a good read. Maybe it looks like a full skin care routine and a hot shower. Maybe you workout as soon as you wake up. Whatever you do, do it daily, and do it with care.
2. Watch What You Eat
There’s a big difference between having a relationship with your food and getting food on-the-go all the time. Make an effort to enjoy your meals more often; to sit down and eat without having a fork in one hand and your phone in the other. Instead, put your focus on the food in front of you. Eat more home-cooked meals and when you go out to eat, don’t just scarf down your food.
More importantly, notice how different foods affect you. Eat more wholesome, natural ingredients than processed foods. You should feel more alert and energized, which will benefit your level of mindfulness.
3. Move Your Body
Food is a necessary fuel for our bodies – just like sleep and hydration. But, what we do with this fuel is up to us. If you’re trying to build more mindfulness in your life, try working out more. You for a walk, run, bike, lift weights, row, do Crossfit or go to yoga. It doesn’t really matter how you move, just the fact that you are moving. Plus, getting outdoors is great for your health, assisting with vitamin D deficiency and other issues.
With this comes a sense of mental clarity that is absolutely outstanding. When you sweat, your body releases physical toxins. When you get in the zone while you sweat and focus on the motions in your workout, you start to release a few “mental toxins.” Your body comes into flow, and your mind stops thinking about whatever stress or pressure you’re under. Instead, all you think about is the next stride you’re about to take or the next rep or other motion, you’re too focused to worry, doubt, or fear.
4. Practice Better Listening Skills
The more you build a positive relationship with food and move your body, the better you get at listening to yourself. You start to notice shifts in your energy, emotions, discipline, and mental strength. The next step in practicing mindfulness then becomes to listen to others better.
Notice how you engage in personal and professional conversations. Are you always thinking about what you’re going to say next, while the other person is speaking? Or, are you honing in on the point they’re making, listening with care? One is passive and inconsiderate, the other establishes tighter bonds than you can even imagine. All you have to do is listen. The rest will unfold naturally. This goes for both forming relationships with others and strengthening your relationship with yourself.
5. Know When to Stand up For Yourself
At the end of the day, growing mindfulness is all about coming to know your true self. Mindfulness helps us navigate the constant go-go-go of the world we live in. It invites us to take a step back and just be; to connect to the present moment rather than letting it pass us by.
But, it’s not all roses and rainbows. Mindfulness also teaches you how to be a little bit tougher. When you become more aware of yourself, it’s easier to identify what doesn’t serve you and what holds you back. Then, it’s just a matter of standing up for yourself. This may mean you have to let go of toxic relationships or speak up at work or confront a person who has wronged you. Such situations can be uncomfortable at first, but these are where some amazing growth happens.
The growth is waiting just beyond your comfort zone. All you have to do is tap into the mind and body, and let them guide you to the things you’re truly looking for. Whether you practice all the tips above or just a few, the secret is to practice. The more you make an effort to create mindfulness in your life, the more attainable it becomes.