As you learned about last week, there are MANY benefits to mindfulness, but how can you practically incorporate it in your busy life? We aren’t all yogis with the luxury of being able to set aside an hour+ a day to meditate our way to inner peace. Most of us are busy AF trying to balance work, relationships, health and more, and that’s why I’ve put this post together to show you easy ways to incorporate mindfulness in everyday life.
With as little as 5 minutes a day you’ll start to see noticeable benefits with a regular practice. Ideally a regular practice would be doing some of the mindfulness practices listed below on a daily basis, but you will still see benefits if you practice every other day. As with anything, the more you practice, and for longer periods of time, you will start to see more and more changes in how mindfulness affects and improves your everyday state of mind.
Mindful eating can be a great place to start when getting into mindfulness. It helps you enjoy your food more and leaves you feeling more satisfied, even when eating less, and yes, it’s great for weight loss too!
Mindful eating is all about taking your time, noticing and enjoying your food.
Smell your food and look at the way it’s presented. Notice the flavours and textures as you’re eating. Is it crunchy? Is it smooth and delicious? What flavours can you taste? How does the food make you feel? Are you slowly filling up? Does it make you warm? Does it cool you down? Slowly chew, and notice and enjoy your food and the affect it has on you.
After mindful eating you’ll likely notice that you enjoyed your food more compared to sitting down and rushing through your meal. You’ll also probably notice that you fill up faster.
This simple mindfulness practice can carry over to meal preparation and any other activity you do. The more you practice, the more you’ll start to do it automatically and notice small affects in other parts of your day.
Related Post: 6 Benefits of Mindfulness
This is a very basic part of mindfulness that I find incorporated into many different meditations and mindfulness practices. Going through this practice leaves you more aware of your body, relaxed, and tunes you into the moment.
There are many guided meditations that will take you through this practice, but it is also easy to do yourself in 5-10 minutes. All you need is a quiet space with somewhere comfortable to sit.
- Start in a seated position. Cross legged on the floor, seated in a chair, or sitting in your parked car, whatever is most comfortable for you in the moment.
- Take 5 deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Bring your breathe back to a normal pace and begin to very slowly scan through your body noticing how it feels without judgement.
- Start with the top of your head.
- Release any tension around the eyes, in our mouth, and in your jaw.
- Move to your neck. Is there any tension or soreness?
- Notice how you feel and release and relax your body.
- Breathe into any tension and try and release it.
- Move through your shoulders, your mid section, your lower back and your tummy.
- Let your belly release and feel rounded.
- Scan through your arms and hands. How do they feel resting on your legs or on the chair? Is there any soreness?
- Scan through your seat. Notice how it feels resting on the chair or on the floor.
- Feel your legs and feet sinking into the ground.
- How does your body feel overall?
- What mood are you in?
- Set an intention for your day.
- Slowly bring yourself back into your space, and when you’re ready, open your eyes.
- How do you feel?
Like any practice it takes time and repetition to get better at it. Sometimes you may find your mind wandering a lot, or that you are going through the practice very quickly. Whenever you notice these things bring your mind back without judgement. Don’t be hard on yourself just for not doing it “right”. Simply notice what you are doing and try to bring your attention back to your body scan.
After the body scan you’ll likely feel more relaxed than when you started. With a regular practice of doing this for 5 – 10 minutes a day you will begin to notice the many benefits I mention in part 2 of this mindfulness series.
This is one area that I see so many benefits from and try to practice it before I arrive anywhere. This mindfulness practice is great to do before arriving at work, before a big meeting, when you come home from work, before meeting up with friends or family, or before you are about to begin anything really.
By doing this practice you’re able to feel more present in the moment of whatever you’re about to do. You can feel more focused at work, or leave your work behind and feel more present while you’re enjoying spending time with friends and family.
This is also a great mindfulness practice when you are in a huge rush. I know that may sound weird, but have you every been in a huge rush in the morning and feel like it makes your entire day feel off and that you can’t quite concentrate fully on anything?
That’s happened to me more times than I can count, and I’ve found this exercise to be really helpful in calming myself down and bringing my mind back to what I need to be doing, rather than constantly thinking about all the things I need to be doing but not actually concentrating on anything. I’m sure there’s some of you out there that know exactly what I’m talking about, and I know you may be in a rush, but trust me, taking 2 – 5 minutes to do this will drastically improve your mood and productivity.
Whenever you feel your mind wandering to other things try practicing this to stay more present in the moment.
- In a seated position close your eyes and take 5 deep breathes in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
- Do a quick body scan by noticing how you feel and how your body rises and falls as you breathe in and out.
- Recognize that you may be late or rushing, but that doesn’t need to affect your whole morning, or your whole day.
- Set an intention for whatever you are about to do.
- Take 5 more deep breathes and bring yourself back into your surroundings and open your eyes.
- Get ready to kick some butt!
After this quick mindfulness practice you’ll likely feel more centered and ready to take on whatever you are about to do.
Related Post: 50 Ways to Practice Self Care
Be Mindful During Everyday Activities
Much like mindful eating, you can bring mindfulness to all sorts of everyday activities. You’ll probably be surprised by the fact it can actually make chores more fun to do!
Next time you’re doing laundry try doing it more mindfully. Smell the fresh scent of clean laundry. Fold your clothes just the right way, and try to grab the perfect amount of hangers to hang all of your clothes.
Need to clean your house? Think about all of the items you need to put away and get them all back to their right home in just the right position. Get every last speck of dust. Fold your blankets in just the right way so everything lies neatly on your couch.
I know it may sound strange and crazy housewifeish, but it actually works. I make it a bit of a fun competition with myself to really think about everything and try to mindfully do it in just the right way.
If you think I’m completely crazy and house chores really ain’t your thing try mindfully standing in line next time you’re in the grocery store. Instead of playing with your phone until it’s your turn to talk with the cashier and pay, try keeping your phone away. Look around. Observe the people around you. What kind of day do you think they’re having? How are they treating the cashier? What kind of mood do you think the cashier is in?
You can do this kind of exercise in virtual anything you do, and with consistent regular practice you’ll begin to notice some great benefits in your everyday life.
As we all know breathing is essential to our existence, we can’t go more than 3 minutes without it, but many people don’t know how much of an affect breathing can have on our bodies functionality and on our mood.
Breathing exercises are a great way to relax and can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, relieve headaches, improve lung capacity, and improve asthma and COPD symptoms.
There are many breathing exercises out there that help with all different needs. To help you out I’ve added a ton of breathing exercise links to my Lifestyle board on Pinterest. Pin some and try them out next time you’re feeling anxious, want to sleep better, or simply want to try one out.
This is the most obvious mindfulness practice, yet it can seem quite daunting to people that have never done it before. There are so many different kinds of meditations: guided, mantra, kundalini, transcendental, breathing, religious and more. So where the heck do you start?
Guided meditations are a great way to start because someone walks you through the process, and they can start out relatively short, just 5 – 20 minutes. There are also guided meditations for all sorts of intentions, like: focusing, living in the moment, calming stress and anxiety, deep sleep, and so much more. You can also set meditation reminder alarms so you can remember to practice every day.
Meditation is a huge subject in itself and I’m thinking of adding a 4th part to this mindfulness series so that I can really go in depth to teach you about the different types of mediation. If this is something you’re interested in please leave me a comment below.
There you have it, 6 ways that anyone can incorporate mindfulness in everyday life. You may say you’re too busy to try it, but with all of the benefits, you can’t afford not too. With just 5 minutes every other day you will start to notice benefits, and before you know it you’ll start to want and need daily meditations to help you keep your head straight with all of the craziness of life, I know I certainly need them now.
If you’d like more information about mindfulness you can see my Month of Mindfulness Challenge, and 6 Benefits of Mindfulness posts. As I said, I’m thinking of doing another post focused on the different kinds of meditations. If that’s something you’re interested in, or if there’s any other mindfulness questions you have please let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions <3