Five mindfulness steps towards happiness

Many of us struggle with an unhealthy, stressful, sad work-life balance. The good news is that we are not doomed to that, as we can, and we should improve that balance so that our life can become better, healthier, and happier.

Here are five steps that will help you develop mindfulness during your days and will put you in the right direction for your ultimate goal: happiness.

1. START YOUR DAY WITH THE RIGHT FOOT

When you wake up in the morning, don’t rush checking your email and social media. Instead, take your time to make some exercise (I suggest starting with the Dai-Hara Kizendo version of the Qi Gong routine called Ba Duan Jin — Eight Pieces of Brocade). It takes just ten minutes and will give you a positive boost that will last long in the day.
Drink a glass of water to re-hydrate your body and go to wash up in the morning. 
Use this time to belly breath, in order to further give you the right start.

2. BE PRESENT WHILE HAVING BREAKFAST

When you’re having your breakfast, try to be fully present. 
Experience the full range of sensations you are feeling. The taste, the smell, the look and the texture of the food are an integral part of your eating time. Use your senses and what they tell you to give you the right connection with the starting day.

3. HAVE A BREAK DURING THE DAY

At some point during your day, take some time for you. Take some time to have a break, possibly having a short walk in a park, or even just around your office, or home, where you find it more enjoyable. 
Try to add this break to your daily routine to build its positive effects up. 
While having the break, whether you are walking or not, pay your undisturbed attention to each breath, to each sensation, to each step you do. Turn off your phone, make yourself unavailable for external distraction, and allow yourself to experience 15/20 minutes of break. 
Should you be able to make this break even longer than this you could also add some of your favourite activities during it, like reading (not work-related material!), journaling, drawing, exercising.
You know better what you like the most!

4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE

At least once every day, practice gratitude. 
Take your time to expand your gratitude to all the people who contributed to your day. Think to all the people needed to let you eat your food, to travel, to live in your home. 
This extended gratitude will help you adjust your feelings and reset your mind: everyone in this world has a role, from the smaller to the bigger ones. 
Think about all it takes to be present at this moment, and be grateful for that.

5. UNWIND BEFORE SLEEPING

Before going to sleep, take 5/10 minutes to completely relax your mind and your body, using belly breathing and body scan meditation. 
Use this time to realign the two parts of your being, mind and soul, letting out of all negative thoughts and emotions, and letting in positive ones. 
This will help you have your calm, relaxed, and deserved rest.