How do you practice mindfulness when life is so demanding? We’re all busy. It’s probably the most popular word in the vocabulary of this millennium. It can be challenging to know how to practice mindfulness when life is so hectic. So taking a moment to be mindful and take a breath may not seem possible in our busy lives. Thankfully, it may be a comfort to know that there’s no time limit on mindfulness. You don’t need hours of the day to practice mindfulness. Sometimes five quick minutes can make all the difference in creating a present mind.
We know that being mindful can sometimes seem like an impossibility when it looks like there’s always something to be done, but we’ve got the solution. Here are some quick ways you can be mindful as part of your daily routine to improve positive thinking.
It’s important to note that while mindfulness is something that can be practised, it’s also something that you should make part of your daily life. The aim of it is to become more mindful overall rather than it being an exercise, so we need to have a regular practice of it in general so everything you do can be done mindfully. This is so that when stressful situations do arise, such as getting frustrated by being stuck in traffic or losing a suitcase at an airport, you can remain calm as mindfulness has become second nature to you.
The most important thing to remember when learning mindfulness is to stay present. This means that you take note of what’s happening in the here and now, as often our worries can stem from overthinking about the past or future. The most basic way to practice mindfulness is by paying attention to the body. One way to do this is to inhale for 3 seconds, then hold it for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 4 seconds. Pay attention to the breath and how your body feels as you breathe. If any thoughts arise, acknowledge they’re there and go back to paying attention to the breathing again.
It can also help to learn mindfulness from a professional mindfulness instructor while around other people learning like you are. There are a lot of different ways you can practice mindfulness in groups, so why not try a mindfulness group course? This is also a great chance to meet new people, which can be great for wellbeing!
There’s a common misconception that to practice mindfulness you need to be sitting in the lotus position with your eyes closed. This can be done, of course, but this isn’t the only way to be mindful. How about trying a mindfulness app such as ‘calm’ or ‘headspace’? Apps such as these are designed to be used on the go and walk you through mindfulness as you go. It’s a powerful way to spend an otherwise dull commute, and can help with the potential frustration of rush hour!
This is an excellent way of practising mindfulness without taking out time in your day. Take notice of each step as you walk, focusing only on your destination and your footsteps. Notice their sound, how they move, and how it feels as you put your feet on the ground as you walk.
We went into this further in another article, but creative outlets such as listening to music and writing can be a great mindfulness aide. Just put on a piece of music, and pay attention to it. Notice the instruments playing and how the volume rises and falls throughout different parts of the music.
As mentioned before, mindfulness needs to become second nature rather than merely a skill to practice. Mindful living is something that takes a while to master but is especially rewarding once you do. Take note of yourself. Take measured breaths, notice each inhale and exhale. Notice the sensations you feel throughout your body. Notice each sound, smell and taste. Notice your emotions and your thoughts, let them pass as though they are ships on the ocean, clouds in the sky or leaves floating on a stream. Allow your mind to be your sanctuary, not your prison.
Yup, even the dreaded domestic activities can be a great way how to practice mindfulness. It’s all about being attentive to yourself and your surroundings. Notice the way the soap feels on your hands, how the sponge feels as you glide it across the dish. This doesn’t just apply to dishwashing; you can do it with any activity. As you dust the countertops, notice how your arm feels as it moves across the surface. Pay attention to any sounds you may hear.
These are just a few suggestions among many on how you can practice mindfulness in everyday life, but you may have some ideas of your own. Living mindfully and being fully present is our goal so any opportunity to exercise can be helpful. Allow yourself to be present in the moment rather than focusing on what has already happened or will happen in future.
Do you have any ways you practice mindfulness in everyday life? Do you have any tips on how to practice mindfulness? Let us know in the comments – we love to hear your thoughts!