Mindfulness isn’t as complicated as you might think. At its most basic, the art of mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment.
Research suggests that mindfulness may help to reduce stress and mild anxiety. At the same time it increases productivity.
But mindfulness training doesn’t have to take any extra time at all. Even the busiest of us can bring our minds back to what we’re doing and how we’re feeling at some point in our day.
Here are some simple ways to make mindfulness part of your daily routine.
Be mindful while you wait
It’s inevitable that we’ll have some time during the day taken up with waiting. Whether you’re on hold on the phone, lining up in a queue or stuck in traffic, these irritating periods can be turned into the perfect opportunity for mindfulness.
While you’re waiting, focus in on your body and take a few slow, deep breaths. This can help calm you by lowering your heart rate and stabilising blood pressure . As a bonus, it might even help you feel more patient while you wait.
Start first thing in the morning
When you wake up, take a couple of minutes to set the pace of your day. In other words, begin as you intend to go on.
For many of us, a morning begins by grabbing our phone to check social media and the news as soon as our eyes open.
Instead, train yourself to keep the phone on the charger and wake up slowly, taking a few moments to think about how you feel in that moment.
Choose a mindfulness prompt
The easiest way to remember to take a few moments of mindfulness is to create a prompt.
Some people find it easy to focus on the present in the shower, while others check in with themselves each time they make a cup of coffee.
Whatever it is that will remind you during the day, turn that habitual task into a moment of mindfulness as well.
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Have some phone-free time
It’s so tempting to fill every moment in our days. If we’re not physically doing something, we’re checking social media and email on our phones. The result is that this leaves us with no time to let our minds rest.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your phone or reply to emails. It’s simply a case of knowing you’re doing it and ensuring that you have methods of stopping it.
Consider creating a rule of no devices when you’re talking with friends and family or eating a meal.
Some people have an electronics box by the front door that all phones and tablets go into until after dinner. This opens up an opportunity to eat mindfully – by focusing on the taste of your food and noticing when you’re full – and enjoy your interactions with those you love.
The best news is; it doesn’t take up any extra time at all.
Everyone’s favourite time: bedtime
If there’s one thing we all need to incorporate into our bedtime routine, it’s clearing our minds and calming our bodies, ready for a restful eight hours.
Mindfulness at bedtime can look quite different to other times of the day because, at this end of the day, it’s all about deep relaxation – letting your breath fall into an easy rhythm, while all the thoughts of the day (and tomorrow’s to-do list) drop away.
To do this, you can use a mindfulness or meditation app (try Smiling Mind
or 1 Giant Mind
), or you can go to a meditation class near you.
This gives you a helping hand to tame that restless, unsettled brain. After all, that’s what mindfulness is all about.