The benefits of mindfulness continue to make it into the media where the data continues show benefits in many facets of one’s life. The practices are simple but not always easy to incorporate into each day. Here are a few tips to keep you going.
1. Stop What You’re Doing and Take a Breath
Take a moment to notice the sensation of your breath. Creating intentional space for resettling yourself, even with one breath, will help keep you calmer and more focused throughout your day.
2. Put Down Your Phone
Your attentional system is pulled toward the most stimulating thing around you and your phone was designed to be the most stimulating thing around you. Holding onto a phone may temporarily stave off boredom, but it also allows you to tune out sensations and surroundings. Set some time each day to put your phone out of reach (if it’s in reach, you might pick it back up without even realizing it) and just notice what, if anything, happens.
3. Do One Thing at a Time
We often try to prioritize tasks by handling them as they come in, even if it means starting a new task while five others are already in the works. Even though it may seem easier to reply “Yes.” to that text then to finish the draft of the email you’re working on, switching between tasks takes up more time and makes you more prone to errors than doing one thing at a time. That’s why a huge component of mindfulness is doing just one thing at a time, it is a practice of giving all of your attention and awareness to the task at hand.
4. Find Mindful Moments in Everyday Tasks
Mindfulness involves intentionally doing one thing at a time, and becoming more fully aware of the task and your response to it. The next time you’re doing a seemingly mindless task, like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or folding laundry, make it mindful. Notice your sensations; can you allow yourself to get so fully into the experience that it even becomes enjoyable?
5. Notice the Moves You Already Make
There are many ways to practice mindfulness with movement, and you can make it as active as you want. If you already run or dance or exercise in some way that helps you to feel more centered and present, that can be your mindfulness practice. Alternatively, your practice can be as simple as paying attention to the feeling of your feet on the floor as you walk up the stairs to work. It is not about what you focus your attention on, but rather that you take the time to consistently practice holding your awareness on one thing and notice what comes up.