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Mindfulness has been a hot topic as of late. I have been trying to be more mindful in my own life, so I figured it was appropriate to finally dedicate a post to mindfulness on the blog!
So, before we dive in, I want to touch on what exactly mindfulness means. According to Merriam-Webster, mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”.
Basically, in my opinion, mindfulness is focusing your complete attention to what you are experiencing in a present moment, free of judgement. It is paying attention to your emotions and thoughts and being fully focused and aware of what is happening around you. In short, it is living in the moment, fully.
Now that you know what mindfulness is, I want to touch on a few benefits that being mindful can bring to your life.
- Increases concentration and focus
- Decreases stress and anxiety
- Can help you overcome bad habits
- Increases self-awareness
- Creates healthier and happier relationships
- Helps with emotional reactivity
- Promotes mental health
And those are just to name a few!
So, today I wanted to focus on some easy ways to incorporate more mindfulness into your life everyday. It really is quite easy to do, and the benefits are totally worth the effort. Okay, so let’s talk about the 7 easy ways you can be more mindful today!
1 | Eat Without Distraction
I have a confession. I am a distracted eater. More often than not I am eating in front of the TV, my computer, or with my phone in the other hand. So terrible.
It is a habit I am trying to get better at, and so far I have taken a baby step in doing so. I have now started a new habit of eating my breakfast in complete silence, alone, with no distractions. I get up before anyone else, and I make my breakfast and sit in silence and focus on my food completely.
It has been so beneficial and I actually look forward to getting up and practicing my little breakfast ritual every morning. (Okay, I still hit snooze a few times, but once I am up, I fully enjoy this new mindfulness habit).
While I do think eating this way is super beneficial, I am also a realistic person with a full time job and a 2 year old. I know eating every meal this way just isn’t possible for me, and I am okay with that. I mindfully eat when I can, and that works for me!
2 | Minimize the Multitasking
I feel like I am forever multi-tasking. Life is busy, it is truly hard not to multi-task sometimes. As I mentioned above, I work and eat at the same time. I often cook dinner and entertain my child at the same time. I even blog and watch TV at the same time (something I need to quit doing!).
The thing is sometimes my days are busy and I have to multi-task, but there are also times when I do not need to multitask and I am doing it out of habit! Realizing that we need to slow down and be in the moment more is important.
Playing with my daughter is always something I try to do mindfully. I focus all my attention on what we are doing and I don’t look at my phone or focus my attention elsewhere.
Cooking is also something I try and do mindfully, but I have limitations there. I know I enjoy cooking when I can fully put my focus into it and be present in what I am doing, the smells, the steps, etc.. BUT, my partner works out of town every second week, and when he is not at home to keep my daughter busy while I cook, then I need to cook and occupy her at the same time. We (purposely) do not own an Ipad, and she isn’t one to sit and watch TV for very long, so she is usually right in the mix of things when I am trying to cook.
So I guess my point is, minimize your multitasking where possible. Especially try and be mindful of tasks you enjoy doing so that you can FULLY enjoy them without distractions.
3 | Genuinely Listen to Others
A lot of the time, while engaging in conversation, we listen but we are also thinking about what we are going to say when it is our turn to speak, or sometimes we are even thinking about things completely unrelated to the conversation.
Have you ever been chatting with someone and your mind wanders and you have to respond with “yeah totally” or something along those lines, and hope you don’t give yourself away for not listening? I know I have!
Next time you are having a conversation with someone, give them your full attention. Don’t let your mind wonder or constantly or try and chime in while they are in the middle of speaking, just let them speak and fully listen to them until they are finished.
You may be surprised how much more your take in with active listening and also how beneficial this can be to your relationships. People like to feel heard, and when you are mindful of their time to speak by fully listening to what they have to say, they feel respected and heard.
4 | Do a Brain Dump
In the mornings I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. I find it extremely hard to be mindful or fully present when my thoughts are constantly wandering away from what I am engaged in at the time.
One things that helps me is doing a big ol brain dump in the morning. Any pending thoughts I have in my mind, I write them ALL down so I don’t forget any of them, and I clear my mind of them. Just by knowing I have written them down and can come back to them as needed, I release them from weighing on my mind.
I work through that brain dump list one item at a time and am able to focus my full attention to each item as needed. Some items in my brain dump lists don’t even require any action, but getting them onto paper gets them out of my head.
Getting all those swirling thoughts out of my head allows me to be more mindful and focused on the present moment or current task at hand.
5 | Get Outside
I find I am absolutely the most mindful and present outside in nature. I tend to notice my surrounding fully, take nice big breaths to breath in the fresh air, and listen to the sounds around me more.
Being outdoors makes me happy and I feel the most present in those moments. I try and get outside as much as I can. I take my daughter out into our backyard after work everyday. On weekends we go for family walks. And during my work day, I go for a solo walk during my lunch hour.
I try to be mindful and fully present in those moments. I leave my phone in my pocket, and I just enjoy everything that the outdoors has to offer.
6 | Embrace Your Body
It is easy to dread exercise. I get it, trust me. But something I found has helped me enjoy it more is being mindful of my body and embracing it for all that it does. While exercising, pay attention to how your body moves, how amazing and powerful it can be, how you breath, how you feel, etc.
You can do this anytime, not just while exercising. Do a good stretch in the morning and be mindful of how great it makes your body feel. Be mindful of your legs and appreciate how they help you run, or walk up a flight of stairs. Or how your arms allow you to carry your baby or hug your partner.
7 | Meditate or Have a Quiet Time
Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you I meditate, because I don’t. BUT, I know many people who do and who find it very beneficial.
I don’t meditate, but I do have about 15-20 minutes of quiet time in the morning where I sit in my living room with no distractions and drink my coffee. This is my moment of complete bliss where I shut off my mind and enjoy every sip of coffee in uninterrupted silence. I try not to think too much about my day or what I need to get done, and instead just stay in that present moments and enjoy the quiet.
Having a quiet time during your day to sit silently and reflect or completely clear your mind is wonderful. Whether it is through meditation or some other little quiet time ritual that works for you, I think doing it daily is a great way to practice mindfulness.
And there you have it! 7 Easy ways to be more mindful everyday. Do any of these ideas work for you? Is there any ways you are practicing mindfulness that is not included in this list? Let me know in the comments below!