It’s a common misconception that Mindfulness involves huge changes to someones lifestyle. The fact is, each and every one of us can be mindful without having to overhaul your way of living. Here are some very quick and easy tips to get you started.
Quick and Easy Ways to be Mindful Today
OK. Myth number one busted from the offset. You DON’T have to throw out the TV, start wearing hemp and change your name to Rain to start practicing mindfulness! Honestly. When I first started practicing, I thought I would have to completely change who I was in order to be successful. But in reality I still do all the things I used to do before I started my mindfulness journey.
Actually there was one thing I did have to change in order to really gain from my practice. I had to change my mind. In order to allow mindfulness to become part of that lifestyle, I had to realise that it could be added without anything else being sacrificed.
So how did I do this?
Well here I will share with you some of my tried and tested techniques for living a mindful lifestyle. It has taken me a while to get where I am today, so don’t expect to be perfect at it overnight. The key is to keep practising and trying different things until you find what works for you. It would be easy to assume that it is difficult to start being mindful. But in time I think you will find these little tips aren’t as life-changing as you might have first thought they would be.
1. Stop and Listen
From the moment I wake up I find myself doing this one. Instead of rushing out of bed when your alarm goes off, take a few minutes to take in the sounds around you. Maybe it’s the birds singing. Maybe the sound of breakfast being made downstairs. Take a couple of minutes to note what your senses are trying to tell you instead of instantly reaching for your phone to check how many TikTok followers you gained overnight. They will still be there later.
I also do this when I’m out and about too. Notice the sounds of nature and take time to enjoy them. Even in the centre of the busiest cities there will be birds singing and bees buzzing. You might find you noice something on your commute to work that you’ve never seen in the 10 years you’ve been doing it.
Taking stock of our senses is a great tool for whenever you’re starting to feel like the world is getting on top of you. In this hectic world it is easy to filter out what is happening in the here and now. If you’re starting to feel the stress mount up, stop. Stand still and listen to what the world around you has to say.
Ok this might sound like a bit of an obvious one, but I don’t mean just normal trying-to-stay-alive breathing. I mean long, slow deep breaths. Breathe in for 7 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and release for 11 seconds. Do this when you’re feeling frazzled and repeat until you start to feel better.
Most of us have either a smart watch or smart phone, so if you need to download an app to prompt you to do this every now and again, go for it. You’d be surprised how 5-10 deep breaths can help put a bit of perspective on things.
I like to do this exercise at the start of my meditation sessions too. It really helps to let go of any tension you might be holding realising it.
3. Practice a bit of self care
In our current society it’s so easy to constantly be doing something for others. Be it for work, family or your local community. It can feel selfish to say no to people, but try and keep some time for you. Even just an evening a week. Do something you enjoy such as a hobby or a hot bubble bath with all the extra lotions and potions.
I keep a self care box for when things get really stressful too. It’s great to have something to fall back on when you’re really feeling burnt out. (If you need some ideas, check out this post)
If pampering isn’t your thing, why not create a self care jar? Put ideas of different activities you like doing onto pieces of paper and place inside a large jar (make sure you’ll be able to get your hand inside it). Then when you’re feeling like you need a bit of downtime, pluck an idea out of the jar.
Self care is a great way to allow our minds to have a bit of down time. Generally, self care involves things we really enjoy doing, so we focus on that time. Self care encourages you to think about what you can see, hear and feel, which oddly enough is what mindfulness is all about!
4. Invest in a good nights sleep
I bet each and every person who reads this has some sort of struggles when it comes to getting a decent amount of kip. It’s no wonder really, our poor brains don’t know how to switch off. And when you do eventually drift off, it’s a night of dreams filled with everything that bothers us. Isn’t it the worst feeling when you wake up after dreaming about doing a day at work and knowing you have to do it all over again?!
It’s taken some experimenting, but I’ve come up with a routine which works for me. Every night I listen to a sleep story on my Calm app. Yes. Every night. Sleep stories are amazing for stopping the minds wandering off. I personally like to listen to travel stories, preferably places I haven’t been before. I imagine what those places look like and before I know it the alarm is going off and I’ve been asleep for 6 hours.
Also, about an hour before bed I have a hot drink and dim the lights. Then, when I go up to bed, I turn on some fairy lights and do my final notification checks before I turn on my sleep story and turn off the bedside light. I leave the fairy lights on. Not only does this create a bit of Hygge, but it creates a soothing atmosphere conducive to sleep. If I’m really struggling I also use lavender pillow spray to help me wind down.
Try and make your bedroom a place you want to enjoy. It helps your brain to stay in the moment. Don’t forget to check in with your senses if your brain really refuses to stop spinning.
Not too much to ask?
So hopefully now you can see that you don’t have to do a lot to include a little mindfulness into your day. It’s all about checking in with your senses and being present in the moment you are in. When you think about it like that, why should you change anything?
Obviously there are loads of other ways to be mindful, these are just a few easy ones to get you started. I would advise not running before you can walk though, learning to be mindful takes time.