You might think you need to schedule additional moments of mindfulness into your daily routine in order to feel its full effect. The truth is, though, that mindfulness can be part of the tasks you already do every single day — and the benefits will speak for themselves. Science shows that practicing mindfulness can help you retain your focus when learning new information, solve problems in new ways, and even make you more resilient in the face of stress.

We asked members of the Thrive community to share how they incorporate acts of mindfulness into their everyday routines. Though simple, their strategies prove just how easy it is to transform mundane tasks into opportunities for greater self-awareness, and for you to express appreciation for the present moment.

Focus on your “now”

“Being a mum to a busy toddler and running a business can get overwhelming. I have a tendency to think about what’s next, what’s not done, and how much time there is — or isn’t! — to get things done. The best practise I’ve found is a conscious parenting technique: I stop, take a breath, and ask myself, ‘What is my now? Am I in my now?’ This helps me focus on the task I am doing, my son in front of me, my environment, and all the sights, smells, and sounds I am missing in my hurry to get things done.”

—Crystal Davis, international business coach, Italy

Turn your to-do list into a to-feel list

“I write a list each morning of three positive emotions I want to experience that day. Watching as people and situations spark those emotions throughout my day is like a fun science experiment! The list changes daily and might focus on strong, happy, and confident one day, and grateful, funny, and loving the next. It brings a bit of mindfulness to my everyday activities and makes them much more empowering.”

—Kelly Rudolph, certified life coach, San Diego, CA

Dance every day

“Even if it’s for one song, it’s something that easily brings me into my body and the present moment. Plus, it’s something that I can do to spend a few quality minutes connecting with my kids.”

—Lindsay Ford, parenting coach, Kitchener, ON, Canada

Embrace tech-free moments

“I have a morning gratitude practice, in addition to journaling for 20 minutes, followed by a brief meditation. I have learned to keep my phone at home when I take my dogs for a walk, so I can see the world with the same perspective they have. I also take a weekly technological sabbatical. By expanding our ideas of mindfulness, we can help it become a greater part of our lives without it being an activity we do in lotus position.” 

—Tricia Wolanin, Psy.D., clinical psychologist, Bury St. Edmunds, U.K.

Set an intention every morning 

“It might be something like, ‘Just for today, I will listen without judgment.’ Then I spend five or 10 minutes in meditation using the intention as my centering thought. This reminds me that with each new day, there is an opportunity to improve upon ourselves and focus on one thing at a time. By practicing mindfulness and being present in the moment, time does not pass too quickly, and I develop an entirely new appreciation and gratitude for all the things life has to offer.” 

—Tammie Kip, author, Ontario, Canada 

Take a moment to remember your mission

“I set two reminders on my phone: one at 8:30 a.m. and one at 5 p.m. The one at 8:30 says, ‘Be the light,’ and the one at 5 says, ‘Thank you.’ The first reminds me to be present when I start my day, and helps me stay aware of my role at work, which is to bring light to everyone I meet. The second reminds me to end the day with gratitude for my job and the people I get to lead and serve.” 

—Camille Sacco, bank manager and meditation instructor, Winter Park, FL 

Think about your impact

“I try to focus more on what I am doing and how my actions make some kind of impact. When going somewhere, I try to be mindful and walk to the destination instead of taking a taxi. This positively impacts the environment, but also increases the steps I’ll get in a day!” 

—Stella Stephanopoulos, student, New York, NY

Simply breathe

“Using six-count belly breathing always calms me down. I use it throughout the day — when someone cuts me off in traffic or I have to go to the dentist. It even helps me fall asleep. It’s my go-to stress reliever.”

—Natalie Bonfig, writer and speaker, St. Paul, MN

Let your mind wander during your morning routine

“The morning shower is one of the only places we can truly enjoy privacy. It forces us to nurture our bodies while giving free rein to our psyches to tinker, play, and wonder. Without any expectation, our minds wander and dream, opening up what Zen Buddhists call ‘beginner’s mind’. During this seemingly mundane time, our free-wheeling right brain works its magic to start a truly mindful and creative day. There’s no better way to prepare yourself to be delighted by new discoveries that will transform the prose of the day into sheer poetry!” 

—Michael Alcee, clinical psychologist, Tarrytown, NY 

Take a pause

“As a mom, I use mindfulness to help me stay calm and focused when I am with my children. If I catch myself getting frustrated or overwhelmed, I always turn to my breath. I take 10-20 deep breaths to remind myself to stay in the present moment. In my career, I use mindfulness to deal with difficult clients. I’ve come to realize that ‘difficult people’ are usually just scared and overwhelmed, and don’t know how to deal with situations that are out of their control. I always leave some space between the time they voice their frustrations and when I give my response so that I have time to take in what they’ve said and separate any emotion from it. In doing this, I’ve found I can bring peace and calm to almost any situation.”

—Krista Golightly, realtor and life coach, Hernando, MS 

Pay attention to your body

“If I pay attention to my breath, it grounds me. When I actively notice my feet on the ground or the breeze on my bare arms, it brings me back to the present moment. When I put my hand over my heart, it not only reminds me to be more mindful, but also to hone in on self-compassion and love. My body helps bring my mind into now.” 

—Lisa Kohn, author and executive coach, Wayne, PA

Embrace sensations

“When I’m washing the dishes, I bring my attention to how the temperature feels on my hands, the texture of the sponge or brush that I’m using, and the act of cleaning. When I’m outside, I tap into my senses. Is the sun bringing warmth to my skin? Is a breeze cooling me down? Is someone grilling? Are there children zipping by on their scooters or skateboards?”

—Marissa Boisvert, behavior change specialist, Cold Spring, NY

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.