There’s a lot of hype around mindfulness- claims of how being in the present moment can magically make anxiety, depression and a number of other personal struggles virtually disappear. The reality is, it can! But you have to be patient and dedicated to your practice. The path to mindfulness is a journey that may be a long one and needs to be traveled daily to keep going in the right direction. The biggest challenge is sustaining your practice. Like going to the gym, many people set big goals and after the first week of going everyday for an hour, they let other things take priority and suddenly going to the gym is put on the back-burner. The good news is, you don’t have to carve an hour out of your schedule to practice mindfulness. There are plenty of quick and easy tricks that you can do throughout your day that will keep you on the path of becoming more mindful. 5 Tricks for Daily Mindfulness
- Wake up with love for yourself. Before rolling over to look at your phone or slumping out of bed to make your coffee, say something kind to yourself. You can make it a positive affirmation, or something you plan to do well that day. Stopping to pay attention to yourself first thing in the morning will set a good tone for your entire day. And hey, the very first thing you did that day will have been practiced mindfulness.
- Do a body check. Take 1 minute in the middle of your day and scan your body. Notice how your feet feel, are they tired or sore? Are your legs energized? What about your stomach? Is it anxious or hungry? Are your shoulders relaxed or tense? Pay attention to any tingling or tension in your body. Its not as much about relaxing muscles or making changes as it is just being aware of how you feel, noticing everything that’s going on with your body at that particular moment.
- Take note of your emotions. Whenever a strong emotion comes up at work or at home, take note of it. Say, “ok, I’m frustrated right now” and sit with that emotion. Notice the thoughts that go through your head and the physical changes that happen with your body as you experience that emotion. Taking 30 seconds to pause and be with an emotion is not only practicing mindfulness, but its allowing yourself a second to think before you react.
- Make mealtime a meditation. Slowly eat and savor your food. How does it taste? How does it smell? Mindful eating is a deep meditation practice that brings you into the present moment. Look at your food and be aware of what you are putting in your body. Don’t think about anything other than the food and eating. Be in the moment. It’s just you and your salad… or pizza.
- Go to bed with gratitude. End your day by making gratitude the last thing you think about. Think about your day and come up with one thing that you are grateful for. Even if you had the worst day, being alive and breathing all day is something pretty amazing that you can be grateful for.