Meditation can be difficult. Even if we do find the time to sit down for a formal meditation session, there are a million things that may distract us or get in the way.
But finding the time for mindfulness meditation practice in the first place can be hard. What if you just feel way too busy balancing your work schedule, family commitments, and social life? How do people find the time to practice mindfulness?
Well, here’s the good news. You can be mindful in any place, at any time, no matter what you’re doing.
Mindfulness can be integrated into your everyday life in a variety of different ways. Making mindful moments a part of your routine can be hugely beneficial, and it stops you from worrying about all the obstacles and difficulties that come with formal meditation.
So how does everyday mindfulness work? In this article, we’ll be looking to answer that question, by focusing on these key areas:
- The definition of everyday mindfulness
- The benefits of everyday mindfulness
- Some simple techniques for you to try
- How to get started
Sound good? Let’s get into it.
What Is Everyday Mindfulness?
Everyday mindfulness is about translating the principles of mindfulness into ordinary day-to-day tasks, events, and activities.
So what are those principles? Well, we can boil down the term ‘mindfulness’ into three key points:
- Present moment awareness
- Engagement with sensory experiences
- Non-judgmental observation of thoughts, feelings, and emotions
Applying these principles to all sorts of experiences throughout the day can be highly beneficial. You may be surprised to know that mindful behavior can be incorporated into pretty much any aspect of life. So how exactly does that work?
A mindful approach to life can allow you to enjoy the simple pleasures, feel present in the moment, and become more stimulated by everyday experiences. It can also lead to greater peace of mind and better sleep.
Practicing mindfulness throughout the day could mean enjoying the sensory experience of brushing your teeth or washing up, or perhaps thinking more closely about the feeling of walking along the street or exercising.
But we’ll talk more about the specific applications of everyday mindfulness shortly — first, let’s consider its benefits.
5 benefits of taking mindful moments each day
Cultivating a sense of gratitude for life can make you happier, calmer, and more appreciative of the good things that surround you — this is a fundamental aspect of everyday mindfulness. However, it’s so much more than that.
There are also loads of practical advantages to everyday mindfulness. Let’s explore some of them.
1. Enhanced Productivity
Applying mindful behavior more regularly can enhance your attention and concentration skills, making you a more focused and efficient individual.
These attributes can be used to boost productivity in all sorts of professional, personal, or academic environments.
2. More appreciation for the simple things in life
Pausing to fully take in present moment experiences is hugely beneficial. Take a mindful minute to note the beauty of a warm summer’s day or the sound of birdsong. This can help make you more appreciative of the simple pleasures in life, which boosts well-being.
3. Greater compassion for others
Taking the time to appreciate the positive experiences and people in our lives can help us see things from different perspectives and boost our sense of empathy and compassion towards others, as well as ourselves.
4. Increased Emotional Regulation
Repeated mindfulness practice helps to alter certain brain structures related to emotional reactivity.
By encouraging us to observe thoughts and feelings rather than reacting to them, mindfulness makes us better at emotional regulation.
5. Better Memory
Mindfulness practices have been scientifically proven to cause reductions in proactive interference, which causes improvements to short-term memory.
By aiding our ability to process things as they happen, everyday mindfulness enhances our long-term storage of memories and experiences.
4 Simple Everyday techniques to try
Okay, we’ve now explained what everyday mindfulness means, and we’ve explored some of the key benefits of employing mindful behavior within your daily life. But how exactly can we do that?
In this section of the article, we’ll take you through some great exercises for incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.
1. Mindful Breathing
We’ve all used the power of breathwork to help us deal with pain and stress, whether we realise it or not. When we stub our toe or bang our heads, we use deep breaths to calm ourselves down. This is a natural example of everyday mindfulness.
Taking a few mindful moments throughout the day is simple, but effective. Make an effort to take five deep, slow breaths multiple times throughout the day. It could be when you first wake up, when you’re sat at your desk, on your lunch break, or before bed.
This kind of regular deep breathing only takes a few minutes of your day, but it can reduce anxiety and help you feel calmer and more grounded. For more information on how breathwork can help you out, check out our article on mindful breathing.
2. Body Scan
Body scanning is another useful technique that can slip easily into our everyday experiences. It’s a form of meditation that helps bring your focus to the present moment and relax your body and mind during stressful or difficult times.
This exercise is probably best with your eyes closed, but if it’s easier, you can also keep your eyes open. A body scan involves moving your awareness slowly down your body, starting by noticing the sensations in the top of your head, and ending with your feet.
It’s important to pay attention to your breathing and notice how the breath affects your body. You can use body scanning to ease bodily tensions and breathe through negative or stressful thoughts and feelings in your mind.
3. Mindful Communication
Most of us make the same mistakes during conversation. We’ll rarely listen closely to exactly what’s being said, interrupting the person we’re talking to, and constantly waiting for them to finish just so that we can jump in.
While these habits are hard to break out of, it’s important that we make an effort to. Mindful communication is about making a conscious effort to pay full attention and be totally present while talking to others.
Here are a few tips for practicing it.
- Put your phone away when you’re speaking to someone, and leave it there!
- Try to keep eye contact with your peers as much as possible. This increases present moment awareness and engagement, and will let others know they can trust you.
- Let the other person finish speaking before you speak. This helps keep you present and engaged in conversation, instead of always thinking ahead about what you’re going to say next.
4. Practice gratitude
Appreciating the people around you and showing gratitude for the simple things in life can be hugely beneficial. Being more grateful for simple pleasures is the perfect way to apply daily mindful behavior. Here are a few tips you can use throughout your day.
- Take a mindful moment as you sip your morning coffee or tea. Feel the heat of the drink, watch the steam rise, and appreciate its warming, restorative effect.
- Speak to a friend about something you’re grateful to them for.
- Always say “thank you” to the people who help you out throughout the day, whether it’s a small thing like a stranger letting you pass them on the street, or something bigger like a partner or friend cooking you a delicious meal.
- Sit or stand outside and be grateful for the natural world around you. Appreciate the feeling of sun on your skin, the cool breeze, or the sound of birds in the trees.
Practicing these varied exercises during mindful moments throughout the day can help bring you all the effects of mindfulness meditation, without having to sit down for formal practice.
Start Practicing Daily Mindfulness Today!
You should now be confident practicing mindfulness throughout your day, wherever you are, and whoever you’re with. In fact, being around other people is a great opportunity to improve your mindful communication skills and be appreciative of the people in your life.
Before we wrap up, let’s quickly recap some key points that will help you use the power of the mindful minute in your daily life.
- Embrace simple pleasures like a sip of coffee
- Practice mindful breathing to stay calm and grounded
- Enjoy nature
- Try to experience things in the present moment as much as possible
- Communicate in a mindful, empathetic way
- Try sitting in silence and observing the five senses
- Perform body scans regularly and notice your bodily sensations
You can also be mindful while exercising and performing a variety of physical activities. Whether it’s running meditation, or Vinyasa Yoga, there are loads of ways you can combine mindful behavior with your daily fitness routine.
Mindful living can often come naturally to us anyway. Follow the tips we’ve given you today, but try not to overthink it. Just one mindful minute a day can go a long way — so start practicing everyday mindfulness today and see how it goes!
And if you’d like to know more about the differences between formal meditation practice and everyday mindfulness, check out our article on mindfulness vs meditation.