Finding time to include mindfulness everyday can be hard…
The term mindfulness is being thrown about quite a lot today but what actually is it and is it worth incorporating into our everyday lives? This blog will give you 5 examples of how you can include mindfulness everyday.
(Steps 1 – 4 can be done all before you leave for work in the morning).
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We’ve all eaten a plateful of food, whilst watching the telly, or scrolling on our phones and then looked down and noticed that we’ve finished our food without realising or even tasting what it was that we were eating. Yep- we’ve all done it.
As a society, we have become great at doing things on autopilot in the attempt to be more efficient more successful or more productive. We are surrounded with some amazing technologies to help us achieve this automatic response, phones with emails being sent to us 24/7, fast food restaurants, apps to optimise work efficiency etc. All of which have their place in our lives, but how often do we actually stop, and complete one task with our undivided attention without thinking of 5 other things at the same time?
This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the art of being fully attentive or aware of the action or activity that we are doing. By just adopting a few of the 5 ways to include mindfulness everyday hacks, you may notice a difference in your day to day experiences and may even notice further productivity in your work, hobbies or general day to day life.
#1 – Set an intention or aspiration for your day.
The first thing you do to start your morning has a massive impact on your overall productiveness and mental attitude towards your day. So it’s in everyone’s interests (yes, everyone, who likes a grouchy person?) that we do something meaningful as soon as we open our eyes.
Mentally walk through your day and don’t miss anything out. Start with your morning rituals/activities, and then move onto what you would like to achieve. This could be related to work, family, whatever. Once you have walked through your day, set an intention or aspiration. This could be a physical achievement that you want to complete, or could even be more internal. For example, when faced with a stressful task or situation, I won’t react instantly. I will take a couple of minutes and then readdress that situation when I’m in the right frame of mind. Or to complete steps 2-5 of this blog! And Voila! You’ve just achieved a mindfulness activity and you haven’t even left your bed yet.
#2 – The mindful activity
This one is the most challenging out of the 5 Yoga Hacks because our minds will find it hard to not get distracted.
Pick an activity that you do every day, this could be brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, taking the dog for a walk. Now do this activity and think of nothing else but of the actions that you are doing. Be completely aware and focused on the task- the more simple the task the easier to begin with. Brushing your teeth may be easier to do initially especially if you live with someone, as you can be in the bathroom by yourself for 5 minutes being totally focused on brushing without your family/partner/housemate thinking you are weird. (Your dentist will thank you for it too!)
If you notice your mind or focus drifting to other things, which it will just make the conscious effort to redirect your awareness back to your task. Being completely present in the moment.
Making this tiny and conscious act of being present in the moment even if its only for the length of time that you eat your breakfast or brush your teeth can help train the mind to block any external distractions and help you reconnect to your body and mind.
#3 – Move
The benefits of incorporating movement, exercise and mindfulness everyday are huge and well documented. Not only do our physical bodies benefit from moving or exercising but mentally, our minds are able to connect to our bodies. A perfect example of being mindful in our day to day activities. You may already have a way of exercising embedded into your lifestyle, or you may not. This Yoga Hack is down to you and how you can fit this into your day. Moving/exercising/stretching your body first thing in the morning is a fantastic way to start your day, however, if you’re not a morning person you can still stretch and move at work. It could be as easy as rolling back the shoulders, rotating your wrists/ankles, go and walk down and up some stairs. Take a look at my blog “5 Yoga Hacks: 5 ways to include Yoga at your office desk” for some more inspiration. Shifting focus and your mind back to your own body for just a few minutes allows you to check in with how you are feeling physically and mentally.
#4 – Get outside
Find an opportunity to be outside during your day. Once outside, take in and notice your surroundings, which means putting your phone/headphones away and just observe. What do you see, hear, smell, feel? Revisit the intentions that you made at the start of the day, are you going to meet those intentions, or what could you do to help you reach that aspiration by the end of the day?
If you work outdoors, this should be super simple for you, you could perhaps adopt another mindful activity (step 2) whilst you work. If you work indoors, find a reason to get outside even for 5-10 minutes. Could you walk to work, walk to a shop to get your lunch, or sit outside during your lunch break? Changing your environment and simply being outdoors breathing in fresh air can reset your mental capacity, allowing you to refocus and be more productive when you go back to work. Being outside gives us all an opportunity to notice how we are part of a much bigger community and picture, bigger than our workstation in the office, bigger than our business. Putting perspective on our lives can help us retune in on what is really important and help us to find more time for ourselves.
#5 – Reflect on your day
Finishing our day in the right way is just as important as starting our day well, so finally when you’re back in bed and just before you head to sleep, think back over the day’s events.
Reflect on what happened, did you achieve what you set out to do? If not, no worries, tomorrow’s another day. Try not to judge your actions or the events that happened, just observe how they unfolded, and congratulate yourself if you dealt with them accordingly or make a mental note of how you would deal with them next time.
Think back to the intentions or aspirations you set in the morning, did you succeed, or are they still a work in progress? Whatever the outcome, spending this time to notice and regroup on the day’s activities will close the chapter of the day and give you room and space to make your next intention/aspiration for the following day.
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