Sometimes we go through life being unaware or not living in the present. We do our daily tasks without actually experiencing what we’re doing in the current moment. We stick to our usual routine and over time we begin doing it without putting much thought into it.
Between work, school, taking care of family, trying to have a social life, and other day-to-day activities, life can get extremely busy. It almost seems like there’s no time to pause and take a few deep breaths.
One thing we can do to be more conscious of our daily activities is to practice mindfulness.
What Does It Mean to Be Mindful?
Being mindful means that you’re conscious or aware and that you’re focusing on the present moment. When you’re mindful, you’re completely aware of your thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
A lot of the time, we are worrying about the future or living in the past. When we’re not mindful, we do things without actively being present.
For example, have you ever been driving and once you reach your destination you realize you were zoned out while you were driving? Or, maybe you’ve let words fly out of your mouth without realizing what you were saying until it’s too late.
If you find that you’re struggling with how to be more mindful, there are things you can do to practice mindfulness.
11 Tips for Being More Mindful
1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation teaches you to pay attention to the present moment through acceptance and focusing on your breath. It calms both your mind and body because you’re focused on “the now” instead of being stuck in the past or future.
To start a mindful meditation practice, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes and gradually increase it until you find a time that works best for you.
Once you’ve set your timer, close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your stomach as you breathe in and out.
Next, pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t focus on trying to stop your thoughts, instead, just imagine yourself watching them float by. Continue to observe your thoughts without judgment.
If you’re new to meditation, it might be better for you to start off with a guided meditation using apps like Headspace or Insight Timer. These apps teach you different skills to help you remain present.
2. Limit Your Screen Time
Technology has made it so that everything is available at our fingertips. It can be overwhelming to constantly switch between apps and internet tabs and often times we find ourselves mindlessly scrolling.
We can be more mindful by having designated times where we check social media. It may even help to set a timer for how long you will be online.
You can also use social media more mindfully by considering your intentions before opening the app. When you’re scrolling, pay attention to any feelings that arise and check in with your body.
For more information on using social media more mindfully, read this blog post.
3. Focus On One Thing At a Time
With the busyness of life, it’s easy to get caught up in multi-tasking. Instead of juggling multiple things at once, focus on one task at a time and give it your all.
This helps you be more mindful because you’re not worrying about doing too many things at the same time. If it helps, set an alarm and focus on one thing until it goes off. Then, take a short break, set another alarm, and start on the next task.
4. Pay Attention to the Little Things You Do Each Day
If you’re trying to be more mindful, it can help to be more aware of the small tasks you do every day. This includes activities like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, washing dishes, and driving.
When engaging in these activities, notice the small details like the warm water on your hands as you do the dishes, the feeling of the bristles from your toothbrush on your teeth or driving in silence to ensure you’re focused on the road.
If you notice your mind wandering, take a deep breath and bring your attention back to the task at hand.
5. Practice Grounding
Grounding can help you pull away from the past, manage emotions such as anxiety, and bring you back to the present.
Grounding techniques work by using the five senses to distract yourself from difficult thoughts or feelings.
Some grounding techniques you can try include:
- Standing barefoot outside
- Putting your hand in water and focusing on how the water feels
- Breathing deeply
- Picking up items
- Taking a walk
- Listening to your surroundings
- State the date, time, your full name, and birth date
- State what you see around you
- Doing a body scan
- Savoring a food or drink
- Savoring a scent
- Reciting something you know by heart
- Repeating kind phrases to yourself
- Sitting with your pet
- Visualizing your favorite place
- Listing positive things
- Listening to music
6. Eat Mindfully
It’s common to eat your meals while watching TV or doing something on your computer. Eating mindfully means you take the time to truly savor your food.
Take in the different aromas as you nourish your body. It’s also important to ensure you’re not scarfing down your food but that you take your time.
By taking your time to enjoy your food, you’re practicing being more aware of what you’re doing.
7. Go For a Mindful Walk
Take the time to get out in nature to connect with yourself and the world around you. Go for a walk through your neighborhood, visit a park or spend time at the beach.
Going for a walk is a great way to be more mindful. Walking helps boost mood, lowers stress levels, and reduces anxiety. It’s also a good alternative for people who struggle with traditional meditation.
Walking can also help you clear your mind from all the clutter stored inside of it.
This post has great tips for getting started with mindful walking.
Having a mindful journaling practice can help you manage difficult emotions. Journaling frequently allows you to explore any thoughts or feelings you have and release them.
Writing heightens our awareness by helping bring everything to the forefront and giving us the chance to examine what’s going on in our minds. Journaling allows us to slow down as we fill the empty pages of a notebook.
It’s an inexpensive way to improve your mental well-being.
Because you’re getting everything out and on to paper, you will feel freer which enables you to live more mindfully.
9. Be Mindful in Your Daily Interactions
When you interact with someone, observe what they’re doing and saying. Make sure you’re engaged in the conversation and that you stay present.
Staying present means instead of being on your phone, you give the person you’re talking to your undivided attention. It’s important that you’re actively listening and not just seeking to respond.
Being mindful of your daily interactions can create meaningful connections with others.
10. Practice Acceptance
Acceptance is about observing and acknowledging your experiences without judging them. Acceptance can truly help you be more mindful because it changes your attitude about life.
In order to move forward in your life, you have to accept what’s currently happening.
Even though you’re allowing negative feelings to exist, it doesn’t mean you can’t eventually take action. Don’t deny what’s happening around you. Instead, sit with it.
Remember, your feelings are valid.
11. Move Your Body
Physical activity like yoga or working out allows you to connect with your body.
During yoga or exercise, start by centering yourself then find your focus by thinking about the purpose of your workout. Focus your awareness on your form and each posture you attempt. This will help you feel more relaxed and help you remain present.
If it starts getting difficult, become aware of your breath and use it to get through exercising.
Moving your body is a great way to be more mindful and it’s also beneficial for your physical health.
Ready to Be More Mindful?
You don’t have to spend the rest of your life being on autopilot. Starting today, you can make small, positive changes by implementing a few of these tips. The next time you’re driving, cleaning or eating, take a moment to pause and become fully aware of what you’re doing.
Being mindful each day is a powerful way to have control over your life and improve your mental health. Even with the busyness of life, you can make time to stop and take in what’s happening around you and within you.