We all live in the fast lane these days, and that fast-paced lifestyle often makes the days fly by. Unfortunately, though, this lifestyle also causes us to often feel numb and dissatisfied with our everyday lives. These feelings lead to burn-out, depression, and even some serious physical illnesses.
Luckily, we can combat this fast track to our demise by simply incorporating mindfulness into our day. In short, mindfulness is the practice of maintaining moment-by-moment awareness. Mindfulness helps us slow down and fully experience each moment of our day from the first cup of coffee to the last bodily sensations we feel as we fall asleep.
The best part? Mindfulness is easy to work into your day! In fact, here are 5 easy ways you can start practicing mindfulness every single day.
1. Involve all of your senses into your morning routine.
Mindfulness involves keen observation that utilizes all of your senses. One way to wake yourself up and start your day on the right foot is by using your five senses to complete all the tasks in your morning routine. For example, you can easily engage all of your senses in the shower — simply smell the shampoo before you lather it into your hair or listen to the water as it hits the tub floor. Or, if you’re not a morning shower person, take in the aroma of your cup of coffee while you carefully press your hand against the mug and take in the warmth.
2. Plan breaks to check in with yourself.
I’m entirely too guilty of sitting down at my desk, diving into work, and watching the day fly by. However, studies show that working for hours on end without breaks actually causes additional stress and exhaustion. Therefore, it’s important to schedule short brain breaks throughout the day. During these breaks, take a few deep breaths and really focus on your body. Do you feel any aches or pains? Are you feeling tense, hot, or hungry? Building this type of self-awareness is another great form of mindfulness that will help you both in the short-term and the long run.
3. Leave your desk for lunch.
Many people firmly believe that time is money, but this mindset leaves a vast majority of corporate employees eating lunch at their desks so that they can squeeze in more work. Not only is this concept counterproductive, but it can also lead to some nasty health complications. So, even if you skip the line by using a food delivery service like GrubHub or DoorDash, take your meal out to a courtyard or nearby tree. This time away from your desk will allow you to fully focus on your meal and give your brain a break.
4. Go for a walk.
Short walks aren’t just great for your physical health and sleep schedule; they actually can provide a great mindful moment in your day. You don’t need to run or even break a sweat to take a mindful walk, either — you just need to focus on the walk itself and your surroundings. As you walk, listen to the sound your feet make on the ground or make a list of how many colors you see. While you’re walking, also try silencing your smartphone so that you reap the full benefits of this mindful stroll.
5. Create a bedtime routine.
Sleep hygiene is important for our internal clock, but a regimented bedtime routine that involves all of our senses also serves as a great mindfulness practice to end your day. Plan a set schedule of 3-5 tasks that you complete in succession every night to help you wind down and (hopefully) catch some Z’s. Don’t let your body go into autopilot, though, as this completely negates the purpose of the exercise. In fact, I even recommend that you work a short meditation session into this evening routine so that you can take a moment to clear your mind and connect with yourself at the end of the day.
Whether you’re new to the concept of mindfulness or a well-trained veteran, these tips can help you create mindful moments throughout your day. These moments ultimately help you regulate your emotions, connect with your body more, and even provide opportunities for you to build positive short-term experiences. Personally, these practices help me avoid the emotional red zone and help me be a more productive employee and person. Hopefully you can find simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day and enjoy the benefits too.