I don’t have the time to sit and meditate... I have kids… I work long hours… There are not enough hours in the day... I barely have the time to do any exercise…
These are some of the excuses I often hear for not wanting to practice mindfulness.
However, practising mindfulness need not mean taking 30 minutes out of the day to sit and meditate. It can mean much more than that. Mindfulness can be integrated into every aspect of your life.
Mindful habits can be built into your everyday life. In this article, I will provide some tips on how to build a routine that incorporates mindfulness into your daily life.
As soon as you wake up in the morning smile to yourself and think of something that you are grateful for to start the day. This can instantly put you in a space of gratitude and positivity to begin the day.
Take a few slow deep breaths before you get out of bed. Be fully aware of your in-breath, out-breath, and the pauses in between.
When you are brushing your teeth, be fully present to the sensations of the brush against your teeth, gums, mouth.
When showering, notice the sensations of the water running down your face and body, the temperature of the water, paying attention to how you are cleaning yourself.
We are all guilty of becoming distracted at work, especially in the modern age of smartphones, with non-stop notifications and ads constantly drawing our attention. Being mindful at work requires discipline. Here are some helpful tips to be more mindful at work:
Turn off email notifications on your phone, especially if they are non-urgent. If you work on a computer, your work emails will come through your computer. You may not need notifications for your personal email and work email on your phone.
Pay attention to the task in front of you. It is best to stick to one task at a time. As humans, we are not great at multitasking regardless of what anyone says.
Set an alarm to take a mindful break from work. I recommend this be done at least every hour. This may include taking 3-5 slow deep breaths and doing some mindful stretches. Bring yourself back home to your body with openness and awareness.
Mindful eating is a great way to break up your workday. This can be done with a snack such as a piece of fruit or some nuts. Eat with full awareness of the textures, tastes, and shapes in the food.
Mindful habits in the evening are important to unwind from your day to ensure that your body is able to prepare itself for rest and sleep. Here are some mindful tips for a restful night:
If you have trouble sleeping, it may be worth staying off screens in the evening as much as possible to help your eyes and brain adjust to the dark. Also turning out lights where possible can also help.
Place your phone on “do not disturb” a couple of hours before bed and do not take your phone into the bedroom. The fewer distractions you have before bed the better.
Journaling can be a great way to reflect on the day and close the book on that day to start the next afresh. Writing about your thoughts and feelings that arose throughout the day can help ground you and process your experiences.
Practising the 4-7-8 breathing method as you go to sleep can really help you relax and fall asleep in a timely manner. The relaxation technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and breathing out for 8 seconds.
These are just some of the tips that can help you live in the present, feel more positive emotions, reduce anxiety and stress. They may not all work for you but are certainly worth a bit of trial and error. I hope some of these tips may help you move towards living a more mindful life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about how to incorporate mindfulness into your life :)