Being mindful is a practice so essential to the fabric of our humanness, but something we so often neglect. In our day-to-day lives we rush, we move, we live, we fight—and we forget, sometimes, to simply be. We crowd our schedules with tasks and events. We spend our spare minutes answering emails, watching video clips, or endlessly scrolling through media threads. We watch shows, read books, fill our lives with conversations, podcasts, stories, thoughts—so many beautiful things—but things that continually pull us away from the natural rhythm of our hearts.
If any of that sounds like you, and what you’re experiencing right now, here are seven easy ways to practice mindfulness and insert positive habits into your life.
1. Remind yourself to breathe.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you really, intentionally thought about your breath? When was the last time you slowed down, took a deep inhale, and then slowly exhaled out? Mindfulness starts by acknowledging what is going on in your mind—good and bad—and trying to process it. We can process when we are intentional about our breath and actively engage in slowing down our movements.
2. Acknowledge what is causing you stress or anxiety and take active steps to reduce it.
The practice of mindfulness centers on acknowledging two things: 1) what you can control, and 2) what you can’t. When you’re aware of what’s going on in your mind, you can take active steps to reduce stress, change your direction, and better your communication and interactions with others.
Take a moment to identify what you’re thinking about. Is it positive? Negative? Can it be changed? If there’s something bothering you, identify what that thing is and take one small step in the direction of solving that problem.
Mindfulness is largely about your personal mental state, but there is a larger umbrella of mindfulness that connects you with the world around you. It’s just as important to be mindful within yourself as it is to be mindful of others. Take a moment to listen, rather than opening your mouth. If someone is coming to you with a problem, don’t be quick to help them solve it, but instead ask what they need. Let people vent. Be aware of your biases or unconscious stereotypes you may have, and work to remove them by quieting yourself and simply listening.
4. Take time in your day to actively slow down.
Life is rushed. From obligations, to events, to work, etc. it’s hard to keep a schedule let alone find time to relax. However, when you purposefully slow down, you give yourself mental clarity. This is essential for your both your physical and mental well-being, but will actually help you be more productive in the long run. You’ll also be more in-tune with your body’s natural rhythm and needs.
5. Actively learn about perspectives outside your own.
The practice of mindfulness involves understanding your own beliefs and thoughts, in comparison and in spite of those around you. Take time this week to really think about what it is you believe or find value in, even (and especially) if it differs from the people around you. Also do this for others, too, and dive into perspectives that don’t right away align with what you believe. This can help you build tolerance, acceptance, and patience, along with mindfulness.
6. Practice some form of meditation or quiet time each week.
Quiet/solo time, or meditation is so essential for personal growth. If you can, take time this week to be with yourself. Use this time to pray, practice yoga, breathe deeply, relax, or clear your mind of things that are giving you stress.
7. Do one thing that challenges you.
We grow when we are challenged. Whether this means taking a Powerhouse fitness class you’ve never done, or waking up early to go for a jog, etc. do one thing each week that challenges you. This will give you mindfulness in what your body can physically handle, as well as mental discipline to push yourself. You’ll also be refreshed and re-centered as a result.