When there is so much happening in your life and many things to do, the last thing that you want to do is sit down and pause. The idea of slowing down to find a moment to relax and breathe feels wrong to you right now, as if things will fall apart or get worse if you dare to stop. On top of that, your attention is demanded from multiple places at all times: family, expectations, social media, advertisements, personal finances, news… So how would you even be able to find a moment to become mindful?
For some people, it can seem like a waste of time to slow down to observe, especially in such a fast-paced world. “There is a lot left to be done! I do not have any time for that right now.” But we do have time. Often, we use that time distracting ourselves mindlessly on the phone or filling our time with different activities and the company of people. We just do not give our being the priority, attention, and love it deserves. We place importance on everything else, and we forget ourselves creating even more disconnection within us.
By giving yourself the time to become more mindful, you begin to shift your attention away from the stress of your daily life. You begin to see things from a much broader perspective in a calm state. You feel more centered to make better decisions. And if you battle with depression or anxiety, it will help in decreasing these states and help you build resilience.
How To Become More Mindful In Your Daily Life
To become more mindful, you only need to be present with your experience and observe what arises without judgment. In other words, you do not get caught up in the mind chatter, in the endless list of things to do, what is not working, or on concerns about the future, and you do not seek to escape your reality with distractions. You are here, now, present.
You can practice to become more mindful with anything you do during your day, but to help you get started, here are some things you can do:
Most people connect mindfulness with meditation, but becoming more mindful through meditation can seem hard to do for most of us, especially if you are not used to slowing down, and you have a busy life. But here are the good news: you do not need to spend 30 minutes in meditation to become more mindful! Only a few minutes a day can make a positive impact.
Five minutes may not seem like a big deal, but small pockets of time like this where you bring yourself back into awareness are powerful and can create long-lasting effects. Before you know it, you may find yourself wanting to have more pockets of times like this during the day, which will help you build a strong meditation practice.
You can start easy with 3-5 minutes each morning (so you avoid getting distracted during the day and forgetting) and observe what arises. Focus on your breath and your body sensations.
- Wake Up Gently
How we start our day strongly influences how we carry ourselves. If we wake up in a rush, we are likely not going to be mindful of the things we are doing next. And we are not going to be intentional about what we are creating, so we can end up feeding stressful situations.
If you want to feel more at ease during your day, check in with yourself first thing in the morning.
One simple thing you can do to wake up gently is to stay in bed with your eyes closed for a few minutes as you allow yourself to slowly come into consciousness. Take this moment to notice the first thoughts that cross your mind. Are they positive thoughts about your day? Are you already thinking of what can go wrong during the day, about everything that you have to do and do not want to do, about all the problems that need solutions? Notice your thoughts and feelings without judgment and then shift your attention to the present moment. All you need as you wake up is to observe yourself in your own body.
If you have time for more, maybe you can sip a cup of tea as you sit outside, and hear the birds, watch the sunrise, and take in the new day in a mindful way!
- Do One Thing At A Time
Everything we do during the day is an opportunity to become more mindful. It can be washing the dishes, cooking, painting, writing, exercising, walking, or eating. And whatever activity we choose to engage in, we can do it by activating the senses to bring a strong sense of awareness.
Try some of these activities first without listening to music so that you focus entirely on what you are doing. And if you are choosing to listen to music as an activity, then close your eyes and pay attention to the different instruments, the melody, and the harmonies.
- Observe And Listen
How many times have you stopped to notice your surroundings during your day? How good of a listener are you in your conversations with friends? Are you aware of how your body feels and what it needs throughout the day?
Use this moment right now to observe and listen for at least 1 full minute. Stop whatever you are doing and observe what is happening around you.
- Phone Usage
This one can be one of the toughest ones for a lot of us. Our phones call our attention constantly. Every ring tells us we have a notification we are going to want to see. And this is how we become engulfed in the digital world where we mindlessly roam.
Next time you pick up the phone, do it with a clear intention, not just because you are bored or trying to find a distraction from something that is happening. You can make little commitments to yourself such as, “I’ll only use the phone to reply to important messages that I will reply at a specific time”.
And if you happen to be spending time with a friend, use this as the perfect time to put your phone away and fully engage in the conversation.
- Mindful Eating
An activity we do every single day and one that we pay little attention to.
As the multi-task people we’ve become, we often eat while watching TV, scrolling through the phone, or doing something else. When we do this, we miss the opportunity to experience the food we are tasting and feel the joy and nourishment in every bite. And because we get disconnected like this from ourselves, the body, and the food we eat, we end up overeating, consuming too much sugar, or eating for emotional comfort.
Next time you eat, make the intention to become present with your food. Eat your food slowly as you savor each flavor and texture.
In today’s world, the demand for our attention is intense. We are always doing things to meet a deadline or a goal, so it is important for our well-being (now more than ever) to find pockets of time during our day to reconnect and come back to the present moment.
If you do not have time for meditation, that’s alright. You can still practice mindfulness in many different ways by learning to see everything in your day as an opportunity for growth, as an invitation to be mindful.
Be patient with yourself as you cultivate mindfulness in your life. In time, the small mindful actions that you take during your day will ripple their effects into all aspects of your life in a powerful way!