10 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness Daily

Research studies show that there are many physical and psychological benefits of practicing mindfulness. It reduces blood pressure, decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression, and it can even help you become a happier person overall. 

If you want to become more mindful to reap these benefits in your own life, doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you have to meditate constantly or become a spiritual guru. There are so many easy ways you can incorporate mindfulness practice into your normal daily routine. Here are some great ways to get started.

1. Start your day slowly.

Use the very first moments of your day to be mindful. Notice what you’re thinking about upon waking. Close your eyes and connect with your body. Do you feel tired? Well-rested? Sore from yesterday’s workout? Take a few deep breaths while listening to the sound of your breath and feeling your chest rise up and down. Choose to make three goals for your day as you consider your tasks ahead. How will you take better care of yourself today? How can you be more compassionate toward others? How can you perform your best at work?

2. Eat mindfully.

Fully enjoy every bite you take instead of scarfing down your lunch while you work. Before you eat, sit down and set aside all distractions, your phone included. Look at your food and notice how it appears and smells. Take small bites and enjoy the sensation and flavors as you swallow each bite. Don’t rush and stop when you feel full.

3. Find three things to be grateful for.

If you’re facing challenging life circumstances such as financial insecurity, drug or alcohol addiction, or emotional abuse, finding things to be grateful for can be difficult, but the process of doing so requires you to be mindful and aware. Take a moment to appreciate the small things in your life. Analyze any painful or hurtful moments that occurred throughout the day and brainstorm to come up with a positive solution or positive perspective.

4. Take a walk and notice the sights and sounds.

Taking a walk each day is a good practice for overall health, but you can also use it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. While walking around your neighborhood or a local park, take time to notice the colors of your surroundings, the sounds of the bees buzzing around the flowers, the strong and recognizable smell of your neighbor’s tomato plant, and the pleasant warmth of the sun on the back of your neck. 

5. Try to accept yourself and your life as it is today. 

If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us struggle with being content. We tend to find ourselves dreaming about having a better car, a bigger house, more voluptuous hair, or more Instagram followers. Instead of falling into this joy-sucking trap, try to accept yourself for exactly as you are today. Think about how fortunate you are to have the things you do, the people in your life, your loveable cat, and the hobbies or activities that bring you joy. As difficult as it is, try to accept the not-so-great things too, like your rocky relationship with your spouse who is recovering from addiction, or the money that was stolen from you by a stranger. Instead of focusing on pain and anger, let go of grudges and separate yourself from harmful experiences that are holding you back from fully living.

6. Lose yourself in a hobby.

Pour all of your love and attention into an activity you enjoy, such as biking, sewing, reading, playing an instrument, or painting. Lose yourself in a hobby that brings you joy by releasing your anxieties, worries, and thoughts about all the things you need to accomplish today. Simply be and enjoy the process.

7. Tackle one task at a time. 

As a culture, sometimes we are way too focused on productivity. We rush around trying to accomplish an impossible amount of things every day and forget that life isn’t one giant to-do list. Instead of mindlessly checking off the boxes, focus on one task at a time. For example, you can try this at work. Set aside all tasks except one. Set a timer and forget about the list of other things you need to do for the time being. Focus on completing that single task with all of your full attention until the timer goes off. Your brain will thank you! After several days of doing this, you may notice you feel less exhausted and worn out at the end of the day.

8. Truly listen.

Next time you’re in a conversation, try to avoid letting your mind wander, thinking about how you will respond, or assuming things about the person who is talking based on what they say. Notice their body language and the words that they choose. Instead of getting lost in your own thoughts, simply open your ears, consider what the person says, and trust that your mind and body will know how to respond when it’s your turn to speak.

9. Practice urge surfing.

Anyone who has completed an Austin drug rehab program knows the term “urge surfing,” because it is a method that is commonly used by people in recovery. Whether you struggle with cravings for alcohol or drugs, or you feel defenseless against sweets or online shopping, urge surfing is a great way to practice mindfulness. When you feel a craving coming on, it may ebb and flow like a wave. Notice that the craving is there and recognize the discomfort you feel without letting it sweep you away. Don’t try to fight it and don’t give in to it either. Simply feel it for what it is and ride the wave until it’s gone.

10. Do nothing.

It is so hard to just sit and do nothing. It may even be physically uncomfortable for you! But if you just sit and be for five minutes without any distractions, you’ll see how satisfying it can be. When you’re ready to try, set aside your phone, computer, and tablet. Choose a comfortable seat outside or in a favorite room in your house and close your eyes. Rest in the current moment and avoid thinking about things that occurred earlier in the day or things that could occur in the future. Just try to be present in the here and now and notice how you feel without any judgment. 

Practicing mindfulness daily is challenging but with consistent practice, you’ll eventually discover how much value it can have in your life. And hopefully, you can share with others and empower them to do the same!