You’ve heard all the hype about mindfulness and are, no doubt, intrigued by all of its benefits. But you’re way too busy to spend hours on a meditation mat or chanting in a dark room full of strangers. Well, you’re in luck. Incorporating mindfulness into your day is easier than you think. With these five easy mindfulness hacks, you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.
Use Your Phone to Your Advantage
Ben Foley, author of Fully Rich Life, suggests changing the screen saver on your phone to something simple that will remind you to be present. Think about how many times a day you look at your phone. Imagine being reminded that many times a day to engage in mindfulness. I think you’d eventually get the hint and it would become a daily habit. You can see his suggestion here of an image that says “breathe”, reminding him to slow down and be present.
Another tech savvy way to practice more mindfulness is the Five Minute Journal app. You can use this app to schedule 5-minute journaling exercises into your day to cultivate more gratitude, mindfulness, and positivity. You can set reminders, use writing prompts for ideas to reflect on, and you’ll have it with you wherever you go, so won’t have to worry about lugging another thing around.
Choose Something You Already Do
Instead of trying to cram more into your already busy schedule, think about the activities you do on a daily basis. Choose one and make it into a mindfulness exercise.
Erin Olivo, Ph.D., and author of Wise Mind Living, talks about what makes a mindfulness practice: “What makes it a mindfulness practice is when you set your intention to be fully present with the activity. Focus on the action you’ve chosen and observe your experience of it. What does it feel like, sound like, smell like?”
Similarly, in her article for Mind Body Green, Lauren Stokes suggests using your daily shower or bathing as a mindfulness activity: “Notice the feeling of the water running over your body. If you like baths, notice how the warmth of the water envelops your body. Draw your attention to the sensation of your fingers on your scalp as you wash your hair. Explore the feeling of your skin with soap on it or the texture of your wash cloth or loofah against your skin. Visualize the water washing away your preoccupations, worries, negative feelings, and tensions in the body.”
Regardless of which daily activity you choose, decide to be fully present in the experience. Focus on the physical actions you’re taking and the sensations you feel. As you do this with just one thing a day, you’ll find yourself being more present in other activities throughout your day as well.
Take Three Long, Deep Breaths
“Simply doing breathing techniques can give you energy, relax you, and help you feel more mindful throughout your day, regardless of how busy you are. In fact, you can do this one wherever you are.” – Kerri Cummings, Yoga Instructor
This one is for the multi-taskers out there. You can literally do this anywhere, at any time, while you’re doing anything else! Consider the time you spend stuck in traffic, waiting in line at for coffee, or waiting to head into a meeting. These are the valuable in-between-times that can be used as mindfulness breaks throughout your day. Just start with three long, deep breathes and allow yourself to be fully present in the moment.
Schedule 1-Minute Breaks
To take it a step further, try scheduling 1-minute breaks in your day to practice deep breathing without multi-tasking. No matter how busy you are, you can afford 60 seconds of stillness.
Melissa Eisler, the Senior Content Strategist at the Chopra Center, gives this suggestion: “If you sit for one minute (you can even set a timer so you don’t lose track of time) and focus on your breath: deep inhales and slow exhales, you will calm your mind and create a more peaceful state. Try to schedule one-minute windows throughout your day. Here are some ideas on where to find a minute: right when you wake up, right when you get to work before diving into the day, between meetings, after lunch, right before you leave work, before dinner, or before bed.”
Practice Walking Meditation
In his article How to Be More Mindful Just By Breathing and Walking, Thich Nhat Hanh explains that “mindful walking simply means walking while being aware of each step and of our breath. It can be practiced anywhere, whether you are alone in nature or with others in a crowded city.”
He goes on to say that you can practice mindful walking in between business appointments or in the parking lot of the supermarket. So that next time you find yourself rushing from the car to the office or even down the hall to another room, think about how it feels when your feet hit the ground. Consider your posture, your body movement, and your breath. Simply being aware of your own movement can cause you to be more present in the moment.
There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day. Start with one or two of these tips and see how it works for you. Slowly add more and more to your daily routine and see how your life begins to transform over time.
Have you tried any of these mindfulness hacks or have some others you love? Share with us in the comments below!