Three Minute Mindfulness Life Hacks
Mindfulness is consciously being present and in the moment. It is an experience of focus but also one of relaxation. Yet, as important as it is, we aren’t reminded often enough to live with true presence. We are told from a very young age to be thinking about our actions in a future tense, that everything we do should be in working towards something. And there is the other side of it too, in that we idealize the past and get fixated in how it used to be. So, when exactly are we supposed to find the time to appreciate what is in front of us and get to really be immersed in the moment? One answer is in breaking down the little pieces of things you already do daily to make it easy to incorporate mindfulness in your life with routine.
Below, you can explore three ways to experience mindfulness in your everyday life (for even more helpful hints to enhance your mindfulness, check out my book, A Little Bit of Mindfulness, here!) :
- Mindful eating
Eating is an enriching human ritual that has many cultural variations. Somehow, in this modern world of productivity and schedules, that loving relationship with ourselves through our food is abandoned. We rush food into our mouths without savoring and eat the first thing in front of us without considering nutrition.
In order to start a journey of mindful eating, pay attention to your body — when it is hungry, what type of food it needs when it is satisfied. When it comes to eating, mindfully prepare your food, notice the textures, chew thoroughly.
- Mindful walking
We are constantly in a state of being rushed – we hurry from place to place without paying any mind to the journey we take. How many of us get to a place only to forget how we even got there? This is the perfect metaphor for how we move throughout most events in our lives. Learning how to walk mindfully helps to establish a connection between the internal and external in practicing mindfulness.
To get started, find a time and a place for a walk. As you walk, focus first on your breath, then on your steps. Slowly, notice
- Mindful breathing
When we breathe mindfully, we anchor our minds. This practice is a basic one and can be performed anywhere, at any time of day. For beginners, it’s important to be aware of your breath as a starting point for more complex mindfulness practices, including meditation. Even advanced practitioners of mindfulness can refocus and become in tune with their bodies and minds through breath practice. To begin, close your eyes if possible, and breath in gently through your nose. Make sure you can feel the breath all the way into your lungs. Straighten your core and lift your chin to guarantee a breath from deep within your lungs. When you’re ready, exhale slowly through your mouth and relax your body. Repeat until your breaths are consistent and your focus is centered on the in and out motion.
A mindful moment can be as simple as taking time to pause. Even brief, momentary check-ins with yourself will allow you to experience the benefits of mindfulness. Take a minute in between chores, destinations, and travel to observe the world around you, and reflect on what’s going on in your own mind. We can get so caught up in checking activities off a list, that our days become filled with rote actions. Something as simple as setting your phone down before responding to a message, or stopping for a moment before answering the door can make a huge difference in your awareness. Mini pauses help re-center us throughout the day.
A natural result of mindfulness is self-reflection. Take time throughout your day to notice your thoughts and feelings about the world around you. Sometimes we can stress about our emotions and confuse them with our deepest selves – we are not our thoughts, and it’s possible to separate ourselves from them and observe them without judgment. Don’t let your mind go down a long path because of a single thought. It’s easy to become depressed or anxious when we feel isolated in our own minds. Being mindful and practicing self-reflection is a simple but effective way to stop allowing ourselves to get carried away in our thoughts.
When we can fully ground ourselves through mindfulness, it opens the door to let others into our lives. To build real connections, we have to allow ourselves to let go of our judgment, preconceived notions and need to respond. When these things are removed, we can completely open ourselves to others and fully listen to what they are saying. You may be amazed at how much your relationships change for the better when you start practicing mindfulness. To multiply the effect, recruit others to join you in your newfound practice. Mindful meditation can be a shared activity and may strengthen the bonds between family, friends, and partners.
To learn more about harvesting the power of mindfulness, look out for a new online course I am offering this July called Meditations for Better Sleep and Anxiety Relief!