How to Practice Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
Anyone who knew me in my undergraduate years knew me as a person who was always on the go.
I’d take more credits than were recommended by my advisor, work multiple jobs to support my horrible spending habits, and take every leadership position that clubs would offer.
I rarely had time to focus on how I was feeling, let alone give my mind a rest from it’s never-ending hamster wheel.
I didn’t start practicing mindfulness meditation until I was in graduate school and facing the threat of a worldwide pandemic.
Definition: Mindfulness is defined as a form of meditation in which you take the time to focus inwards on what you’re feeling in the moment and accepting yourself.
Everything felt overwhelming. The news, social media, and constant harrowing thoughts would plague me. Practicing mindfulness gave me the chance to recenter myself, accept where I was at, and reduce stress.
I’ve listed a few practical ways you can exercise mindfulness in your daily life so that you feel more fulfilled, less stressed, and even get better sleep!
Do a self check-in
This is something you can do for simply 5 minutes a day! Try it during your lunch break, first thing in the morning, right before bed, or even on the toilet!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How is your body feeling right now?
- How do you feel right now? Name the first emotion that comes to mind.
- How do you feel about yourself?
- What can you hear, taste, touch, see, and smell right now? This is a great way to ground yourself.
Remain in the present
Your thoughts may be consumed by the mistake you made last week during your team meeting, or the task you have to get done by next Friday.
One amazing tip I’ve learned is to imagine your thoughts as cars passing by on the highway. Acknowledge that they exist, and then allow them to drift off to be addressed at a later time.
This allows your mind to be cleared and at peace with where you are, here in this moment and not feeling pressured by past or future concerns.
Become more aware of your breathing
It may sound weird but breathing can have a profound effect on how you feel overall.
How are you breathing in this very moment? Are your breaths shallow and quick? Try slowing down your breathing by counting your inhales and exhales. Watch as your stress and anxiety melts away
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine you’re exhaling all the negative thoughts or worries that are bothering you in this moment.
Remove any distractions
Find a comfortable spot to engage in mindfulness meditation. It most likely won’t be at your desk.
Retreat to your couch, bed, a beanbag chair (if you’re working from home), or go for a walk outside. Not too noisy but it also doesn’t have to be completely silent.
Hide your phone away and turn off all notifications. Do your best to remove all possible sources of distraction.
Our daily life is consumed with multiple obligations and communications. It can feel amazing to just sit (or lie down) and just be. Enjoy and relish in the privilege of simply existing.
Have an app help you out
Ok, just kidding. You can break your phone back out.
Getting used to mindfulness meditation has been a million times easier due to apps dedicated to walking you through the process.
I personally use the Headspace app to guide me through mindfulness practices once a day. They’re usually 3–10 minutes long and the best part is you can choose a calming male or female voice to narrate!
If you’ve been recently unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis, Headspace is providing a free year of their plus membership to individuals who reside in the UK or United States.
Thank you for reading and I hope this article encourages you to engage in mindfulness on a regular basis. It’s quick, scientifically beneficial, and a practice every adult needs in their daily life.