Let’s be honest, when someone says “mindfulness practice” most of us imagine someone sitting cross-legged, praying with hands on a yoga mat and humming in complete silence or softly.
While meditation is a common way to practice mindfulness, you may be surprised to learn that there are many ways to find mindfulness at any time throughout your day.
Keep reading to learn why practicing mindfulness a few times a day can benefit your well-being—plus five easy ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.
What are the benefits of being mindful?
Mindfulness involves focusing your awareness on the present moment and bringing attention to your sensations, feelings, thoughts and surroundings. A mindfulness practice is for anyone and everyone, and can be an effective mental health tool for anyone who wants to improve or gain more control over their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Research has shown that mindfulness, mindful awareness or meditation can be beneficial to your physical body as well. It can help lower blood pressure, improve immune function, improve mood, and reduce overall stress.
5 Unexpected Ways to Find Mindfulness in Your Everyday Life
Notice and be present with body sensations. Of course, sitting on a yoga mat in a comfortable environment can be the ideal place for this, but it can also be done sitting at your desk with your eyes closed for a few moments or even while you’re moving.
For example, if you’re running and your mind wanders, focus on your feet. Notice how everyone feels when they touch the ground and pick it up again. Do you feel the cushion of your shoes or the tightness of your laces? Focus on it for a few minutes.
Take a walk without your phone (which means not listening to music or your regular podcast, etc.). Leave your technology at home and take a walk in your neighborhood, park, or somewhere in nature. Notice where your thoughts go, let them pass through your mind, then let them go. I like to imagine thoughts coming in one ear and then slowly going out the other.
Bring your attention to what you are hearing. Is it a tree branch blowing in the wind or a car passing you by? People talking in the distance or dogs barking nearby?
When you’re having a conversation, really engage. Listen to what the other person is saying instead of planning your response before you respond. Notice their characteristics when they speak, such as the color of their eyes or the tone of their voice. If you’re talking on the phone, close your eyes to avoid outside distractions so you can really focus on what they’re saying.
Whatever you do – no matter how small the task (like washing the dishes) – be present. Instead of just going through the motions, really notice the sensations that come over you as you complete the task. Even if you do this every single day, you’d be surprised what can come from just paying more attention.
Take a shower with your mind. Whether it’s a short or long shower, take a moment to notice how you feel mentally and physically. How does water feel on your skin? What is the smell of soap? Is the temperature hot or cold? Listen to the water falling. Is the shower soothing or uncomfortable? Are you in a hurry to get out or take your time? Note your emotions as you go through the motions.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleeping habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.