Life doesn’t have to be a repetitive hamster wheel, even in lockdown. Mindfulness practices can slow down the days, take you off autopilot, and make you more in-tune with the present moment. Mindfulness is also incredibly beneficial for your mental and physical health - studies have shown it can lower stress, reduce anxiety and depression, slow down mental aging, improve memory, and sharpen focus. It’s one of the reasons Rumble founder Paul meditates every day.
Meditating is a popular and proven mindfulness practice, but it’s not the only way to be mindful.
Absolutely everyone can benefit from more mindfulness in their life! If you’re struggling to find the time to meditate (or it’s just not your thing), here are five easy practices which you can incorporate into your daily routine to help ground you in the present moment.
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment, free of judgment. One of the easiest ways to tune-in to the moment is to focus on physical sensations, especially good ones. Showering is an awesome opportunity for this practice. Instead of thinking about upcoming deadlines or worries while in the shower, try to clear your mind, take a breath, and pay attention to how the water feels (spoiler alert: it’s amazing).
Awareness of your breath and body can also help you feel present throughout your day. To check-in with yourself, try incorporating daily stretches (or yoga!) into your routine. When stretching, focus on your breath, then mentally scan your body - pay attention to how it feels when you move and hold a pose. Even a 10-second mindful stretch before breakfast can work wonders.
Have you ever finished your lunch, then looked down and realized you barely remember eating it? Us to! Whether we eat alone or with others, we’re usually multitasking - trying to eat and talk, listen, watch, or read at the same time.
The next time you sit down to lunch alone, ignore Instagram and pay attention to your food. Try to slow down and focus on how it tastes, how you’re chewing, and how fast you’re eating. Enjoy it! Once you’ve had some practice doing this alone, it should be easier to incorporate mindful eating while sitting down to a meal with others.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” according to Friedrich Nietzsche. But if you’re not trying to write a world-shattering treatise, walking is a great opportunity for calming your mind.
To have a mindful walk, tune-in to the sounds and sights around you. Focus on how it feels to move your feet and your body. Try to observe the nature or city around you, without judgement. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present moment.
How often are you ‘listening’ to someone, but actually thinking about what you want to say next? Mindful listening has the potential to not only help us feel more present in our lives, but also improve our relationships (double win!).
To listen mindfully, focus your attention on the person you’re listening to - close your computer, put down your phone, and turn off Netflix. Remind yourself why you want to listen and connect with them (...because they’re important!). Bring your awareness to what they’re saying and feeling, without judgement. If you find your mind wandering or thinking about your own experiences, gently guide it back to listening. Ask questions and reflect back what you’ve heard to show you understand.
By incorporating these little mindfulness practices into your daily life, you’ll feel a little more present, and a little less like the days are zipping by.