Your alarm goes off.
Within seconds your thoughts are cast into the future as you mentally narrate the steps needed to complete another day at work.
You’re probably already entertaining the idea of getting back in bed.
You vacantly pour your morning coffee, brush your teeth, and lace up your shoes – while your mind is occupied thinking about the contents of your inbox.
You traverse the crowded streets with one goal: get to work and do the job.
As the office clock strikes its 420th minute, you contemplate what speed to walk to catch the 5:17 pm train home.
You’re engrossed in a Reddit post discussing a person’s serial killer likelihood based on their butter spreading technique - when the train conductor interrupts to call your stop.
Your day ends, and you feel drained, distracted, and restless – but you’re already planning how to tackle tomorrow.
The 21st century has provided countless opportunities for people to live an efficient, productive, and fast-paced lifestyle.
Although this expeditious way of living has enabled many to earn an income and progress in their career – it has disregarded our innate need for mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness? 💭
Mindfulness refers to a state of conciseness that requires an intentional focus on the present.
Being mindful is prioritising our thoughts and feelings in the present moment and using the time to meditate on them.
Developing an awareness of how your mind and body feel in your surroundings can help you achieve –
• A calmer and focused state of mind
• Self-awareness and personal development
• Better coping mechanisms for challenging circumstances
• A grateful outlook on life
Whether you lead a chaotic lifestyle or live on the quieter side – mindfulness practice is beneficial to everyone, but like any new skill – it takes time and consistency to master.
Practising mindfulness in your daily routine allows you to live your life with intent and create more meaningful connections with your friends and family.
If yoga isn’t your thing, don’t worry.
You don’t have to balance on your forearms to achieve mindfulness - here are five simple ways to incorporate mindfulness practises into your daily routine.
#1 Take a Meditative Walk 🚶🏼♀️
I’m sure you’ve heard it before.
“Take a walk; it will help clear your head.”
But rarely do we mindfully walk.
Whether you listen to a podcast or blast out your favourite tunes – it’s easy to get distracted.
Try walking without an end goal or destination.
And no, I don’t mean walk into the abyss and never return – this could be a short walk down the road, simply taking the time to enjoy present sensations.
By taking this time to be in tune with your mind and body, you alleviate past or future anxieties and find a new respect for the present.
Don’t worry if nature isn’t on your doorstep, either – you can practise meditative walking in the city too. You’re likely to be more stimulated in this environment, which gives you more reason to ground yourself in the present.
#2 Focus on Your Breathing 🧘🏻♀️
Breathwork is incredibly underrated for its potential to relieve mental stress and anxiety. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the only benefit.
You can also use mindful breathing as a proactive measure to provide mental clarity for the task ahead.
By bringing your attention to an otherwise unconscious function – you create a focused anchor to the present time.
Notice how your breath feels.
Is it hot or cold? Is it steady or shaken? What does it sound like as it leaves and re-enters your body?
As well as slowing your mind and keeping you focused in the present, this exercise relieves stress-related tension in your body.
If focused breathwork is something you struggle with, several apps can guide you through breathing exercises – a popular choice for mindful users is Calm.
Mindfulness can undoubtedly be achieved without the support of apps, but it depends on what works best for you.
#3 Question Your Intent 🤔
When you start the day, do you set intentions?
Or do you slide into autopilot as soon as you whip the bedsheets away?
Do you intend to fulfil a purposeful career or be compassionate to your family, friends, and neighbours?
Questioning your intentions at the start of each day provides a reminder to check in with yourself and evaluate whether your actions, feelings, and thoughts are aligned with your intentions.
These regular checkpoints throughout your day help ground you in the present and keep you mindful of your choices.
#4 Take a Break from Technology 📱🚫
As of 2022, people spend an average of 4.8 hours daily on their mobile phones.
Research suggests that mobile phone use (particularly before bed) harms the production of melatonin – the hormone responsible for sleep.
When we lack quality sleep, we increase the risk of adverse health effects, including –
- Reduced immune function
- High blood pressure
- Low sex drive
Spending excess time on your phone detaches you from your senses and surroundings – it provides the perfect distraction from reality and disrupts your hormones.
#5 Journal Your Thoughts and Feelings ✍🏼
Practising mindfulness daily has incredible benefits.
By journaling your thoughts and feelings, you can monitor potential triggers for negative emotions or behaviours and, equally - celebrate the moments that bring you joy.
Documentation can help you identify patterns and lead to the root cause of siutations that cause you anxiety or unease.
These habits should be recognised without judgment.
Over time, you will see an evolution of your responsiveness to challenging events and gain higher self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Consistency is Key 🗝
Like trying to achieve your dream body in the gym – consistency is vital to attain mindfulness, and you should prioritise your mind as much as your body.
These five steps to mindfulness can be integrated into your daily routine without attending a yoga class or tai chi. Although these are both incredibly effective mindfulness practises, too.
With a consistent and conscious effort – you will begin to experience the life-changing benefits of daily mindfulness practises.
To check out the top mindfulness apps, click here.