With today’s stress levels as high as ever, it’s too easy to become overwhelmed and miss what’s right in front of us. This is where mindfulness comes in. Being mindful means living in the present moment and promoting awareness of your thoughts and feelings. Here are five ways that you can increase mindfulness in your daily life.
One of the most common ways to increase mindfulness is to meditate. Meditation is a tried and true practice that can allow you to recognize the emotions you’re feeling without judgement. Simply sitting with yourself for five or 10 minutes a day away from all distractions can be an effective way to connect with your inner self. It’s important to remember that your mind will wander, but that’s no reason to get frustrated or judge yourself. Instead, simply observe your thoughts and then try to shift your attention on your breathing. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to have numerous benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep quality and boosting self-esteem. Additionally, because meditation doesn’t require any equipment or extra space, you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine.
Minimize Screen Time
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to be inundated with information coming from an endless number of sources, whether it’s getting a notification of a new text message or doomscrolling through social media. Many studies have shown that using smartphones has decreased productivity and increased distraction, which has led to negative mental health effects such as low self-esteem and depression. To increase mindfulness, try setting boundaries on your screen time and keeping your phone out of reach at bedtime, which can vastly improve sleep quality. Although you don’t have to give up technology for good, minimizing time spent on your devices can have positive effects on your overall well-being and allow you to live in the present moment rather than worrying about the latest news.
Getting your body moving is a great way to rid yourself of distractions and focus on your body’s sensations. Although you can exercise in a gym, spending time in nature is even more beneficial for mindfulness. By focusing on the trees, woods and grass, you can shift your attention from your busy mind to the present moment, thus increasing mindfulness. Wherever you choose to exercise, doing so can provide you with numerous benefits to your physical and mental health, including a boost in mood, a reduction in the risk of heart disease and an increase in your learning and judgement skills.
Enjoy the Silence
Your life is probably anything but quiet. However, one of the most important ways to be mindful is to be comfortable in silence. Rather than grabbing your phone or turning on the TV when you have a moment of silence, try giving your brain a rest from your hectic schedule and spend some time in solitude. Simply sitting in silence for five minutes a day can decrease stress levels, foster feelings of appreciation for others and increase feelings of gratitude and humility. The next time you find yourself with a moment of silence, resist the urge to fill the void and instead enjoy the solitude.
Practice Mindful Eating
Although food may not be what first comes to mind when you think of being mindful, you can apply mindfulness to your eating habits. Eating is something that you most likely do automatically and while you’re doing other things, such as watching TV or looking at social media. Instead of distracting yourself, try to engage with the experience of eating, taking note of the food’s smell, taste and texture. Be aware of any feelings that arise while eating, whether it’s happiness, guilt or security. Remember that there are no right or wrong ways to feel; mindfulness is merely about being aware of your thoughts.
The idea of mindfulness may sound confusing and overwhelming at first, but it’s actually a simple practice that you can easily incorporate into your daily life. Following these five tips can help you to become more mindful.