There's so many simple everyday tasks we rush through or do on autopilot. We flit through them, mentally ticking off to-do lists and thinking about something other than what we're doing. But these chores are the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially being in the moment. And believe it our not, there are lots of easy ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life.
Why should you be living in the moment you might ask? Mindfulness has been linked to a wealth of health benefits. It can do wonders for stress and anxiety which many of us face on a regular basis so it is well worth trying to get on board with. Here are some easy ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation that has been shown to have significant benefits for many mental health issues. There is a large body of research that shows mindfulness can improve conditions such as depression, anxiety, pain and stress. Once mastered, the free, convenient technique of mindfulness can be usefully applied in all our lives.
While the idea of meditation may put you off, mindfulness is essentially the practice of living, if even for a short time, in the moment. While formal techniques can be learnt (there are many great courses, groups or online resources available) the basics are as simple.
Place your complete focus - over 10-15 minutes - on the moment you are in. Allow your thoughts to focus on the present. Avoid thinking of past upsets or future concerns. It is the antithesis of the mindless scrolling and surfing we engage in with our smartphones to fill every idle minute in our day.
Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Mindfulness can be woven in to our lives in so many little ways. You can do it while doing even mundane tasks like the dishes! Obviously it can be difficult to be mindful all the time but even just picking and choosing a few choice moments to focus on the here and now can do you and your mental health wonders. Here are some easy ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life.
While Out Walking
If you are out walking, try to halt the mind’s natural wanderings, running over worries or lists of things to do. Bring yourself back to the physical and the senses, the sound of your feet, breath in and out, the smells and sounds around you. It sounds easy but in fact takes practice. However, the relaxation and mental health benefits are huge.
Focus Fully on Conversations
Other techniques include simply focusing your attention fully on a conversation. Give the person you are speaking to your complete attention. Again, avoid letting your mind wander or looking at your phone. Think instead about the meaning of the words you are hearing. Be conscious, without judgement, of the reaction they stir in you. Repeat this for 10 minutes 2-3 times per day.
Next time you undertake a household task such as washing dishes, think about the sensations of the water, the suds, the temperature. Focus on your posture, what each muscle is doing. Your breath in and out. Stop half listening to the radio, thinking about what your next task is or what you failed to do earlier that day. Be fully in the moment.
Other Easy Ways to Fit Mindfulness in to Our Everyday Lives
There are endless easy ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life and weave it in to our days. Savour a piece of fruit. Colour in a picture, chase your children around the garden. Sit alone in a café or on the train (without your phone) and observe. Let your thoughts focus on things around you. Acknowledge each sight, smell and sound without judgement.
Challenge yourself to start today, and every day for the next 6 months and see if you notice a difference. Allow mindfulness to simply tune out the noise and tension of the background stress we don’t even know that we carry every day. Reawaken the senses and engage with those around us. Once mastered, carry this skill with you like an essential tool in your life, free to use whenever the need arises.
Checked and updated: 29 July 2021