Mindfulness has become more popular than ever recently, but there are still many people out there who are confused about what it is. It’s actually not all that complicated. It’s simply a way of meditating that helps you become in tune with what you are currently experiencing. In a way, it helps you clear all the clutter from your mind so that you can actually understand how you’re feeling at the moment. It’s a super useful type of meditation, and you don’t need to be a guru to get into it. Try out these habits yourself!
Start off slow
This is a bit of a general tip, but it’s also a mindfulness habit in and of itself. Lots of people get frustrated with meditation when they aren’t immediately masters of it, but you need to be aware of where you are on your journey and accept it. By taking on only one mindfulness habit at a time, you will slowly build upon your skill set and become much more in control of your feelings. So don’t rush things. Pick one habit, work on it, and then try something new.
Become aware of what’s around you
This is one of the most important habits that you can work on. Luckily it’s not too hard to wrap your head around, and you can work on it anywhere! The first time you try it out, try going for a walk around your neighborhood or in your local park. As you move along, just try to notice what’s happening. Is there a bird flying near you? Can you smell the grass? Are the houses big? Note these things without judgement and simply acknowledge that they are there.
Breathe with intention
Central to almost all meditative practices is the act of breathing. It sounds incredibly simple, and that’s because it is. Whenever you have a chance to do it, just sit down and breathe. Watch how your chest rises when you breathe deeply. Listen to the sound it makes when you exhale. Pay attention to how it feels to take a large breath. Learning to control your breath and become truly aware of it is something that is incredibly important to mindfulness.
Scan along your body
This is a trick that can help you pinpoint areas of your body that are tense or need relaxation. Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and mentally scan across your body. Start on top of your head and work all the way down to your toes. You might notice that you have a headache or that you are holding a lot of tension in your shoulders. Don’t get mad at yourself if you notice that you’re tense; simply acknowledge it, relax, and move on.
Enjoy the morning
Here’s a tip that everyone can really benefit from. Most of us aren’t morning people, but the morning is one of the most important and meaningful times of the day. Try to wake up a little bit earlier than usual and just enjoy the morning as it comes. Sit on the porch and watch the sunrise. Look out your window and listen to the cars driving past. This is the type of thing that can make you feel totally in tune with your environment. That’s a great way to start the day!
Pay attention as you eat
There’s nothing wrong with just scarfing down a meal when you’re hungry, but there are untold pleasures to really paying attention to food as you eat it. Eating is a great time to practice mindfulness. Try to slow down as you’re eating and pay attention to all of the tastes, textures, and sensations that you’re experiencing. You might just find that a food you didn’t love before becomes your new favorite. Or you might just find that pizza is even more delightful than you originally thought.
Stop judging yourself
You may not notice it, but you judge yourself constantly. The key to truly attaining a state of mindfulness is to toss those judgements aside and to just become aware. Try this out as a bit of an exercise. Next time that you’re feeling angry or sad, try not to reason your way out of it. Don’t think to yourself, “I’m so stupid for being mad about this!” Instead, just notice that you’re mad. Feel the anger. Let it exist and then, eventually, let it subside. Your emotions are real; don’t try to force them away.
Take time in the shower
Your daily shower is actually one of the best times in the day for a bit of meditation and mindfulness practice. Not only is it super relaxing in and of itself, but there are a lot of sensations that you can focus on and think about. The feeling of the water on your back is something that is totally worth just standing and experiencing for a bit. In a way, showers put most of us into a mindful state without us even really noticing it.
Writing your thoughts into a journal
If you are struggling to attain a state of mindfulness by becoming aware of your thoughts, it might be a good idea to start carrying around a journal with you. This will let you jot down whatever you are feeling as it comes. This physical representation of your feelings will make you acutely aware of the fact of your emotions and whatever else is happening around you, and that’s the secret to true mindfulness. Plus it’s always fun to write down what you’re seeing!
Create a ritual for yourself
Rituals have always had a place in meditation, and they certainly have a big place in mindfulness. Creating a ritual for yourself doesn’t need to be anything complicated, and it doesn’t even need to be spiritual. A ritual can involve making coffee and drinking it on the porch every morning. These types of routine moments in our days center us and allow us to really become aware of what’s happening. Use your ritual as a time in the day to relax and listen to yourself and the world.