Why We Should All Be More Mindful
Have you ever wanted to be more mindful? Maybe you’re trying to savor the few hours you have with your family every evening. Maybe you’re on a trip and want to take in and really experience the sights. Or heck, maybe you just want to feel less frazzled and stressed out all the time.
Mindfulness is the perfect solution to all of those needs and more. Psychology Today defines it as “the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.”
So it’s not just about fully experiencing every moment (although that alone is incredibly important!). It’s about fully experiencing every moment with an open and curious mindset.
Whatever your reason for wanting to be more mindful, I promise you’re going to love the results! Mindfulness has helped me to reduce stress, better prioritize and attack my to-do list, and notice and enjoy the little things. In short, I feel as if I’m experiencing life as it was intended.
So how can you be more mindful throughout each day?
Be More Mindful By Reducing Distractions
- Start every day off on the right foot. How many of us are guilty of scrolling social media or checking emails before we ever leave bed in the morning? Instead, take in your surroundings. Breathe in the scent of the sheets and watch for the first signs of sunlight streaming through the curtains. Listen to the sounds of the new morning for a moment, whether it’s silence or coffee brewing or kids shuffling down the hall. Stretch while you’re still under the covers, focusing on each muscle as it flexes and extends. Once you’ve taken a moment to observe and experience the new day, kick off a mindful morning routine that includes steps like practicing gratitude and establishing the day’s priorities.
- Set your phone down. I know, this one seems pretty obvious. But looking down at our phones is one of the easiest and fastest ways to mentally check out of our current circumstances. Consider making it a rule that no one brings their phone to the dinner table, or that phones charge in the kitchen at night. It’s also a healthy practice to avoid mindless scrolling any time you’re away from your home.
- Turn off the tv. This is another excellent way to tune out the world! Sure, an occasional movie or a few episodes of your favorite series can relax and entertain you. But try setting a daily limit and forcing yourself into another, more mindful activity when you reach that limit. There are loads of fantastic books out right now, and games that could bring your family together. Take a walk through your neighborhood or local park, or work your way through a simple no-equipment, at-home exercise routine (Download one for free here!).
- Step outside whenever possible. There’s just something about being outdoors that refocuses and energizes me. And I’m not even an especially outdoorsy person! Take lunch outside whenever possible and consider using work breaks to step out of the office and into the sunlight. Bonus: Stepping outside usually also means stepping away from phones, computers, and everything else constantly vying for your attention. Watch how the breeze moves through the trees, see if you can spot any birds, or heck, just do a little good old-fashioned people watching.
- Remember that you don’t have to fill every second with something. Have you ever stopped at a red light and picked up your phone? Heaven forbid we sit and do nothing for 60 seconds. We tend to do the same in elevators, grocery store lines, and waiting rooms. Instead, try looking around; observe your surroundings. Make eye contact with others, smile, compliment their shoes. Enjoy the opportunity to simply be for a moment or two.
Be More Mindful By Concentrating Your Attention
- Talk to other people! I recently sat in a packed, dead silent, crickets chirping waiting room debating if I should interrupt anyone’s scrolling to strike up a conversation. Here were ten friendly-looking people, crammed together, all avoiding eye contact. But interacting with other people is one of the easiest ways to be more mindful and live in the moment. So talk to the people around you! Need some help getting the conversation started? Check out The Art of Conversation | 10 Handy Tips to Connect with Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime.
- Avoid multitasking. We love to cheer for a multitasker. What an amazing mom, cooking dinner, playing with her kids, and selling essential oils on Facebook all at once! #hustle #momboss But studies have found multitasking actually makes us less productive, less effective, and more stressed. Plus it throws mindfulness out the door as we struggle to take on several tasks at once. Instead, focus on completing one task at a time whenever possible. I often tell my daughter, “I’m cooking, and I have to focus and finish this first. But when I’m done, I’ll play with you for a few minutes!” Then I don’t burn dinner for the millionth time, don’t drag out the prep longer than it needs to be, and am able to actually be present when I do spend time with my daughter. And she’s more satisfied with having my full attention for 5 minutes than my divided and distracted attention for 15.
- Use common occurrences to remind you to be more mindful. What happens often in your day-to-day life? Phones pinging, doorbells chiming, dog barking to be let in? Decide on a trigger that happens several times throughout the day, and take 30 seconds every time it happens to observe your surroundings more closely, focus on one of your senses (like the sounds or smell of your surroundings), and just be. Then dive back into your day. Research has found that just a few one-minute mindfulness exercises throughout the day can have a profound impact on the entire day.
Wrap It Up
You can be more mindful in every moment by starting your day on the right foot, putting away distractions, allowing lulls without filling them, and practicing single-tasking. What ways have you found to be more mindful? And how has it changed your day-to-day life? Be sure to share in the comments!
P.S. Is stress keeping you from mindful living? Then be sure to download our free Practical Guide to Stress here!
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