To me, mindfulness seems extremely broad. It’s become a big buzzword, but do most of us know what it even means?
My general grasp of the concept was that mindfulness is a mixture of self awareness and being fully present in your day-to-day life. But I felt like that was only a very basic understanding of the idea. So let’s see what the experts say!
What does it mean to “be mindful”?
Psychology Today describes mindfulness as:
“a state of active, open attention to the present. This state encompasses observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
Even more simply, the American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as:
“a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”
Okay, so I was kind of right!
As someone who regularly stays awake at night thinking over all the stupid things I said during the day and cringing, I think this is a concept I can get behind.
Obviously this goes a lot deeper than just foot-in-mouth comments, though. It could mean moving on from past relationships, poor decisions, or big mistakes in your personal or professional life.
And we could all do with a little less worry about the future (says the girl who’s busy thinking about a yearly physical later today at which she’ll be getting poked and prodded). I may be a nurse, but I dislike shots and blood draws just as much as everyone else!
To be or not to be (mindful)
Mindfulness isn’t a trait you have. It’s a state of being. And it’s also not something you can necessarily be all the time. You can use little parts of your day to incorporate mindfulness, though.
Some facilitators of mindfulness include meditation and yoga. But it doesn’t have to be a long session like those either. You can incorporate mindfulness in small moments throughout your day and still reap the benefits.
And trust me, with benefits like these, you’re going to want to incorporate some mindfulness techniques today!
Benefits of mindfulness
We’ve covered the basic premise of mindfulness. It goes without saying that being mindful is good for your mental wellness, helping to reduce stress and anxiety about the past and future.
But what are the other benefits?
Psychology Today notes that using mindfulness techniques can help us cope with rejection and even social isolation. The American Psychological Association lists of a ton more benefits, including improved memory and focus, less emotional reactivity, increased relationship satisfaction, and even improved immune functioning.
Because mindfulness helps to decrease stress, it likely also has benefits for physical health and reduces our risk for multiple diseases.
Alright, I want to be more mindful! So…what are some mindfulness techniques?
There are a ton of different ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day. Here are a few of my favorite mindfulness techniques!
One way a lot of people incorporate mindfulness is through yoga.
Yoga is wonderful because it allows your mind to get in touch with your body. Many practices have you sync your breathing with your movement, allowing for deep, cleansing breaths.
It also usually takes place in a pretty quiet environment, often with only light music in the background.
This makes it the perfect opportunity to leave your worries at the door and be fully present. Yoga truly is great for both your body and mind.
A list of my favorite yoga YouTubers and best yoga videos is coming soon!
Likewise, meditation is a perfect facilitator for mindfulness. Meditation comes in many forms, but pretty much all of them encourage you to relax, redirect your focus, and be in the moment.
Personally, I love guided meditations. If I’m anxious, they’re a great way to calm my mind.
And I’ve mentioned it before, but my favorite nighttime meditation is still this one from YouTube.
3. Morning routine
Morning routines are an extremely popular subject right now.
And it’s not a wonder why!
Who wants to have a rushed morning full of hectic preparation for the day?
And that’s because – whether you realize it or not – we all just want a little more mindfulness in our morning.
So I challenge you to write out a morning routine that will allow you to actually enjoy your morning, even while prepping for the day to come.
That could mean incorporating the meditation or yoga I just talked about. But it could also mean waking up a little earlier to take things slow, sipping your coffee out of your favorite mug instead of a travel tumbler in the car, or lighting a pumpkin candle while doing your makeup (it’s fall y’all!).
You can also journal, actually sit down to breakfast, or even go exercise.
A morning routine allows you to enjoy the present moment instantly upon waking, rather than making decisions and rushing right off the bat. In short, it lets you incorporate mindfulness into your morning, which is a great way to start your day!
4. Setting a main goal
Setting goals for each day helps you touch base with your priorities. But lately, I’ve found it helpful to set one main goal. I ask myself:
If I could only get one thing done today, what would be the most important?
Today, for example, it’s most important to me to finish writing this post. Tomorrow, it may be to exercise, take pictures for Instagram, or finish some other task.
I like making one main goal so I don’t get too bogged down with worry about any others. One goal keeps me mindful of my present priority and enables me to stay focused (and productive!).
Try it out! I bet you’ll see a difference!
5. Two minute deep breathing and reflection
Who said mindfulness always had to be a long meditation session?
Instead, take a couple minutes throughout your day to sit still, breathe deeply, and reflect. You could be at your work desk, sitting in your car before walking into work, or on your lunch break. Heck, if your day is super crazy, use your bathroom break as a mindfulness break too.
Deep breathing helps relieve stress and anxiety. And taking a second to touch base with your thoughts and emotions – in an objective way – can help you work through a tough day.
It’s also great to do this if you start to feel emotional. Whether someone has shot a negative comment your way or you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking a second to step away can make all the difference. Breathe, identify your feelings, acknowledge them, and push on.
Using this as one of your mindfulness techniques won’t automatically fix everything, but it could change your perspective!
6. Active listening to others
Yep, it’s about others too! Being mindful during your day means putting down the phone or turning away from your computer to really listen to others.
This is something I’ve especially been trying to incorporate in the evening when my boyfriend gets home from work. I often work on blogging-related tasks late into the night, but it’s not really fair (or good for our relationship) if I don’t give my full attention when my boyfriend starts telling me a story from work.
Try this out with friends too! If you find your phone distracting you or your mind wandering, redirect your focus to those around you. Be fully there in every conversation!
Being mindful like this will help you stay present in each moment and keep your relationships strong.
Those are just a few ideas for incorporating mindfulness into your daily life! I hope that you find these mindfulness techniques helpful and can use them to gain a new perspective on your daily life!
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