mindful living

What is mindful living and why it is difficult in modern life

“Mindful living is the ability to stay impartial to our surroundings and the ability to stay present” (Zenfulspirit). Among the most important practices, the connection with your inner self. It is done through meditation, mindful eating, mindful walking, connection with nature, and practicing inner silence.

It is a great concept. But applying this living lifestyle in our modern busy and stressful life rhythm is easier said than done. Unlike the peaceful atmosphere you may experience during a retreat in a monastery, your daily life seems more a struggle. We need a job. Rushing through endless traffic. Worried about money. And children are screaming and fighting while you would like to meditate!

Exhausted, I couldn’t open a book by the end of the day

I used to work 15 hours per day, 8 of which in the office, and 7 at home. Waking up at 6.30 am, I started preparing breakfast for my children, in a hurry and extreme stress. Commuting more than 1 hour to arrive at the workplace, I had no energy to even breathe.

In the evening, I was daily filled with anxiety being late to pick kids at school. Why? Because the last meeting at work was longer than expected. And just at the right time, traffic jams just added on! At 10 pm, I was so exhausted, that I couldn’t open and read a page of my favorite book.

I spent endless years in this life. And I doubt, that at that moment if someone had asked me to try “mindful breathing”, I would have sent him away immediately. The busy rhythm I had never gave me time to meditate, connect with nature, or listen to my inner silence.

The results? By my late thirties, I got burned out. This unexpected event dismantled all my life, relationship, and career. I was faced with this big question: Was it a life that I lived?

Intuitively, I believed that there was a way to live differently. But how can I live mindfully and feel better with less?

How I can live mindfully – 3 best tips

Being an advocate for mindful living, I usually share my daily life with my friends and audience. Many of them would say: “She is fortunate to be surrounded by nature. She does not seem to have a job or doing something. Her time seems to be abundant. And it seems that she passes her days just feeling good”.

And all that, while YOU, hard worker, kill your time in an office 10 hours per day. Trapped in traffic. Run between meetings and childcare. You have no time nor space to connect with nature.

Is mindful living a surreal thing in this difficult world?

No, it isn’t. And I believe that all of us can do it. We just need to slow down. And focus on more essential things for our happiness. Learn how I can live mindfully and feel better for less. 3 best tips to start.

#1. Ruthlessly cut down your activities – Slow down!

Practice ‘slow down’ to preserve the quality of our being

Since my burnout, I cut down my work to 50%. But not only at work. I cut down all activities, for me and for my children. Less tennis, less traveling, less running between different sportive training for my kids, fewer entertainment activities. My favorite day? Meditating. Watching for hours autumn leaves dancing in front of my yard. And listen to calm radio.

A lot of us try to do always more. Perhaps we believe we are obliged to do so. We want to earn more money. Or we want to take care of others. In reality, sometimes, we undertake a lot. But we do not really deliver much. The quality of our presence and energy we bring is the most positive thing we can offer to the world.

When we lose ourselves in activities we diminish our quality of being. We do ourselves a disservice. It’s important to preserve ourselves, to maintain our freshness and good humor, our joy, and compassion

Thich Nhat Hanh

Therefore, practice doing less, in order to bring to this world an “you” fresher, more connected, and loving.

How to do less?

Think about all your activities as a whole. Where you can cut down some tasks? Give yourself more time. Think twice, and ask yourself: Is it really necessary?

“Is this course to the Brico/ gardening shop really necessary for this Saturday? May I do it later? Or maybe not at all!”. “Is this rush to the entertainment park for kids extremely indispensable for this Sunday? Is it not better to spend some time in the garden relaxing? It might be better than to queue under the sun among hundreds of people”

Do less. That is the first thing to do, in order to bring back the opportunity to stay connected with the present moments.

For instance, I spend more time, just to make a tea, or to clean the dishes mindfully. At work too, I don’t necessarily rush to reply to an email immediately (don’t tell my boss!). You will see, that sometimes things just manage to resolve themselves before you need to take action. And believe me, when you feel good, your actions are much more inspiring and productive.

“The quality of your actions are based on the quality of your being. ‘Being’ means ‘non-action”. Therefore, the quality of our action depends then on the quality of our “non-action”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Remind yourself today to slow down, and do less, whenever you can. Observe and see if finally, you deliver less to the world.

What if I feel bored?

In the beginning, you might feel bored. A kind of emptiness invades you. You don’t seem to be “complete” without running and doing some kinds of activities, do you? For example, after 10 minutes of sitting in the garden, you’ll have the need to move.

But the more and more you practice to listen deeply to your body, to see deeply in the nature around you, the longer and longer time you’ll be able to spend on your own. You can feel good without too many activities, nor people to entertain you. Start an afternoon with mindful breathing, some meditation, or some relaxing yoga, or reading. Schedule for a lazy day. Do more of ‘nothing’.

2. Spend less by focusing on more meaningful consumption

How will I pay my rent if I work less?

I heard it! You’d say: “She is crazy to cut down her job to 50%. I’ll never do this. How will I pay my rent?” My answer is: “Well, there are so many things we can cut down when we focus on more essential things in our lives”.

Before, when I booked a holiday for my family, I needed a 4-star hotel with a swimming pool. “Without the swimming pool, what will the children do? They’ll be bored!”. Amazingly, now, we don’t need any swimming pool. We don’t even need to go on holiday. We pass our days endlessly, lazily, yet happily and with the most gratitude and appreciation.

Mindful, you consume less, but more meaningfully

Live a simple life, that’s my secret. The fewer and fewer activities I do, the happier I am. And the more I focus on myself, the less and less I need to spend. I don’t feel any lack, nor need for more. Yet I feel abundance from my joy, appreciation, love, and wonderful nature around me.

When something is truly meaningful to me, I can spend a lot of money without fear. You’ll see, that these expenses will not ruin your budget so much in the end. This is because, if you are mindful, you will consume less, more responsibly. You fill your house with great objects. And it does not cost you necessarily more than when you buy tons of useless things whose existence you forget shortly. Do you agree?

3. Let go of financial worry

Let go of financial struggle

Many of us are caught in financial worries. We may find ourselves in a rat race of vicious circle. For instance, buying a house and working 25 years to pay your mortgage. Similarly, you spend a lot on your vacation, because you are exhausted at work, and need a break. But because you pay too much for the holiday, you’ll need to work more to earn more. Life seems to be an endless struggle.

However, when we practice mindful living, we learn to let go of our financial struggle. With fewer but more meaningful expenses, I could reduce my work, and enjoy having more time. I was more relaxed. Time and energy were to observe nature and listen to my bodies. I felt good. And I was more productive and inspired than ever. Believe me, with your loving energy, the universe returns to you the abundance and money you need.

Open to abundance without fear

Money is a symbol of our creative energy. The system of paper and coin money is man-made. The real abundance will come to you when you exchange your true creative energy to serve the world in a meaningful way. When we are connected with ourselves, we have an inner guide who helps us to take the right actions with inspiration.

Living mindfully is a complete transformation of your lifestyle. Mindful breathing, mindful eating, mindfulness meditations… All of these are the tools to support you. But a genuine mindful living starts with the apprehension of our place in the universe. We find the true meaning of our life. Thanks to it, we can focus on what is essential, without fear.

When you are aware that you are a spiritual being, extrinsically connected to the powerful creative force of the universe, you can let go of all worry. Anchored in the magic of the present moment, let yourself taken fearlessly and easily by the creative flow of the universe.

You will see more and more what Deepak Chopra called a “synchro-destiny” – People and circumstances just appear at the right time to support you and fulfill your deepest desires. With minimum effort, and with the most fulfillment and joy.

That’s how I can live mindfully and feel better for less

It all starts with a mindset shift. Yes, we can live more mindfully and feel better for less, even in this busy and stressful world.

We can learn to live with less effort, surrounded by nature and abundance, without fear. Start today to think about cutting down your activities. Slow down and focus only on the most essential things. Spend less by focusing on more meaningful consumption. And let go of worry and abandon yourself to the creative energy of the universe.

Still sounds surreal? Tell me what you think!

Read more

Mindful parenting techniques – All you need to know

Disadvantages of mindfulness – Don’t miss these 6

Releasing jealousy – 7 best mindful tips


  • Giang Cao Ho My

    M.A., Founder

    Mindfulness Garden

    Like what you read? More from Giang on Mindfulness Garden Giang Cao Ho My is a Yogi, Meditation Practitioner, and Spiritual writer.  Join her Mindful Tribe and practice Mindful living today - Slow down. Feel better for less. Cultivate our presence in anything we do. Fulfilled from the inside and spread love.