Many people think of practicing mindfulness as sitting down and meditating. But if we look closer to the definition of mindfulness it becomes pretty clear that we can practice mindfulness anytime and anywhere. Here are 6 ways to integrate mindfulness into your daily routines without spending extra time:
1. Deep breathing before getting up. In the morning when my alarm goes goes off before I get out of bed I always take a few deep breath in and out. While doing this I pay attention the in-breath and out-breath and also to how the breath travels through my body. This anchors me in the present moment and prevents me to already make up a long to-do-list for the day ind my head.
2. Mindful eating/drinking. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I usually have porridge in different variations for breakfast and try to have the first spoon full mindfully. I have a look at my porridge, the consistency, colour and then I smell it asking myself, what the smell is like. Is it sweet, can I smell the different ingredients and so on? After that I have the first spoon full and explore the texture in my mouth. Then I try to see if I can taste all the ingredients. This process takes me maybe three to four minutes and anchors me in the present moment. It also helps over time with becoming aware of how much we eat without paying attention, this little snack here and there.
3. STOP! Whenever I face a difficult situation or conversation, I practice the following exercise:
S Stop what you are doing
T Take a deep breath, feeling the
sensations of the inhalation and
O Open and observe the sensations
in the body (tightness, posture,
contact points to the ground),
thoughts and emotions
P Proceed with what you are doing
or with what you need
4. Paying attention to our minds. Throughout the day I also try to recognise whether, or not I’m distracted by a wandering mind. A wandering mind is not all bad! Daydreaming and wandering minds are very valuable when developing creative ideas. But becoming aware of what our thoughts and emotions are helps us a lot with recognising signs of stress and what coping strategies we are using when stressed.
5. Balancing nurturing and depleting activities. We often using the metaphor that we have to recharge our batteries. But how do we actually do this? Sometimes it is a good idea to go through all (and I mean ALL) the daily activities and rate them as activities that are “lowering your battery status” and activities that are “charging your batteries”. If you find more activities that are taking energy from you it is now a good time trying to restructure the day and find a few mor activities that are energising. Some time we also don’t recognise that activities are taking or giving us energy because we always do them, and they are completely automatic.
6. Calm evening routine. For many of us it is difficult to fall asleep in the evening. Very often it is because we don’t have time to unwind. That’s why a good evening routine is so important. The evening routine could be meditation, talking to a friend, reading a book, or whatever relaxes you. May people also think that watching TV or going on social media is relaxing, but personally I think that we stay up longer than we usually would because we just get sucked into tv shows and social media. Apart from that are those media stimulating the brain which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.