Most of the day, our brain runs on autopilot; we have routines that we’re used to, whether we enjoy them or not. However, unexpected things will happen on days that we weren’t prepared for, which causes us to stop with the routine and interact with the unexpected situation.
Now, what would happen if we were able to acknowledge the unexpected without reacting emotionally or allowing the unexpected to shift our focus?
What if we lived in the present moment, simply focusing on and participating in the experience of that moment? Living this way is practicing mindfulness.
It not only has a positive impact on how you see the world around you but how you see yourself as well. It impacts your mental health by letting go of self-judgment and promotes a sense of balance and psychological well-being.
Statistics reveal that 35% of people practicing mindfulness meditate to reduce stress. However, mindfulness is not meditation; meditation is a form of mindfulness. Meditation is a practice, and mindfulness is a way of living and being.
So, how can you begin to cultivate mindfulness in your life?
First, take a deep breath, then keep reading below for 5 ways you can begin to practice mindfulness every single day.
5 Ways to Bring Mindfulness into your Everyday Life
Start each day with a Mindful Wake-Up
Your morning actions set the tone for your day. How can you start each day with intention? It’s not just what you do, but how you do it.
When you wake up, instead of jumping out of bed at the last minute, give yourself the ability to wake up and check in with your body. By paying attention to how you feel, both physically and emotionally, you will know how to adjust your day ahead.
Take a minute (or longer) to gather your thoughts and begin with something positive, something that shows yourself you are truly mindful of what will positively impact your day. It might be a prayer, a moment to journal, a moment to speak affirmations out loud, or a moment to express gratitude. Give yourself the gift of the present moment by relishing that time and space, no matter how short or long it gets to be.
Mindful eating has little to do with counting calories and macronutrients. Mindfulness in eating looks like experiencing the food – being fully present as you chew each bite and paying attention to the sensations you’re experiencing.
You get to be aware of what you’re eating, how it tastes, and savor the meal itself. This not only supports a healthy mind-body connection to let you know what your body likes, as well as when you’re full, but it also prevents overeating, distracted eating, and eating out of emotions.
Be mindful in your relationships
Being mindful in your relationships and social interactions means that you are choosing your words and body language wisely. You are attentive to the other person, fully engaged in what they are saying, without thinking about what you’d like to say, or even do, next. Mindfulness in relationships can build trust and intimacy, no matter the level.
Move daily and throughout the day mindfully
Mindfulness in movement looks like checking in with your body throughout the day and noticing what it’s trying to tell you that it needs. As you begin to learn the cues your body is giving you, you can choose activities that will strengthen and support it.
Daily movement goes beyond your workout routine. It includes saying “yes” to taking a break whenever you feel tension or strain arise. It means taking a moment to release tension through simple movement such as stretching and deep breathing that your body will respond to positively.
End your day with a mindful wind-down
Ending your day with mindfulness may be much like starting your day with it; however, since everyone is different, you may find that your evenings become your sacred place where it’s easier to eliminate distractions or have dedicated alone time.
While you can live as much of your day practicing mindfulness, the evening may come more naturally and help you create the habit. A mindful evening wind-down may include reflecting on the day and setting your intention for the following day. It may also be time to review what didn’t go so well, but instead of fixing on the negative, you begin to learn from those moments so that you can keep moving forward.
Mindfulness means you get to come back to the present moment over and over, without beating yourself up
When we stop judging ourselves and our experiences, we are able to become less defensive, less reactive, and develop resilience because difficult moments become easier to handle.
Just remember, all you have to do is start!
Keep reading for a quick guided mindfulness practice.
Take a Mindful Moment
Thank you for making time for yourself today.
Before we get started when was the last time you intentionally took yourself off autopilot and allowed yourself to just be in the present moment?
Right now, as you read this, can you actually stop and just be present?
What emotions are coming up as you intentionally check in with yourself?
Is anything fighting for your attention?
What are you thinking or feeling? Are they positive or negative thoughts and emotions?
What negative thoughts and feelings can you identify that you’re having that you can acknowledge but let go of and not agree with?
What about your body? How does it feel? Is there any part of it that needs some extra care today?
Now… Take a deep breath. Release any judgment, negativity, and expectations.
You are allowed to be a beginner right now.
There is no need to force anything.
Acknowledge what comes to mind, then let it go.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 5 breaths.
Open your eyes and smile!
You did it! That was your first intentional time to practice mindfulness. Be patient and in time, it will come!