Mindfulness is the new black. This practice, once heavily associated with yogis, healers, and the “earthy crunchy” population has now proven to be one of the most sought after practices among all generations with diversified interests and beliefs. Mindfulness teaches an individual to be present in the moment, to be observant of their unique ideas, thoughts, and behaviors and to acknowledge their feelings and release them. The best part? Mindfulness techniques have also shown to be an effective tool for individuals who struggle with anxiety and depression.
Implementing these helpful strategies can make long-lasting shifts in your life, and many of these practices can be applied at any time throughout your day (even if you think you’re the busiest person in the Universe.)
SEE ALSO: A Busy Parent’s Guide To Mindfulness
1) 7 seconds in, 10 seconds out
Deep breathing is a direct, powerful action that allows a person to become connected to the mind, body, and spirit. In moments of stress, applying what I call the “5 seconds in, 10 seconds out method” is a useful technique to execute focused breathing. In this focused breathing exercise, the person takes a deep breath in for 7 seconds and exhales for a longer 10 seconds. This activity can help with stress reduction, anxiety, grounding and feeling overall centered and aligned.
2) Turn off autopilot mode
Have you ever reached for the fridge when you’re not hungry, or realized when you walk into your office that you don’t even remember your commute into work? If so, you’ve fallen into the trap of autopilot mode. In order to stand clear of this, try practicing becoming aware and observant of your surroundings. What colors are around you? What do you see and smell? Implement these skills and consciously access your 5 senses throughout your day, and you’ll become a mindfulness pro before you know it.
3) Don’t be afraid to dig deep
Recognizing the core of your own personal stress will set you up for success. When a person is able to identify the cause of stress or overwhelm, they are more likely to overcome the feelings and emotions attached to this response. Dig deep by journaling or meditating with intention. Set an intention for clarity, focus, guidance or simple relaxation. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge challenging obstacles, and reach out to the morale boosters in your life or a professional for added support.
4) Make decisions from your soul
In other words, trust your gut. When you can tap into and trust your own intuition, beautiful things happen. When it comes to our personal lives, we all have the answers within us, but many people look outside of themselves to friends and family for direction or guidance. Next time you feel compelled to look for answers elsewhere, pay attention to your reasoning behind it. If your reasons don’t feel authentic, if they are fear based or if you are perhaps throwing yourself a pity party, I want to encourage you to turn inward and do some soul-searching. Don’t overthink it and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with on your own.
5) Create a routine and stick to it
Creating a routine that gives attention to the physical elements of your morning or evening can almost instantly cause mindful transformations. For example, take notice of your morning mug of coffee or tea. Feel the warmth as you take your first sip. Be mindful of your surroundings and employ some deep breathing. Set an intention for the morning or evening depending on what time of day you plan your routine. Remember, consistency and action is key here. You must do in order to see results.
6) Mindfulness brain dump.
This is something fun you can do any time of day, or add to your routine for an extra boost. Using your favorite pen and notepad or journal, take 10 to 15 minutes to write out and brain dump any and all ideas, thoughts and feelings you are having in the present moment. This will help with reducing overwhelm and racing thoughts, and who knows, you may even uncover some epic new ideas.
7) Develop secret little moments of Zen
Think about your typical day. What can you incorporate into your schedule that is your own secret, personal Zen – a state of being that promotes togetherness of mind and body? What will remind you of a feeling of ease, flow and alignment? This can be an object, a piece of jewelry, a drawing, a song, an action, etc. Once you’ve found what your Zen token or act is, refer back to it throughout your day. A deep focus on this symbol will bring you back to the present moment and foster unshakable mindfulness.
8) Embrace your awareness
Mindfulness is not a distraction from the real thoughts and emotions a person feels. Mindfulness is a way to acknowledge and release ideas and thoughts that do not serve for the greater good and to reflect on the positive and helpful ideations of success, happiness, optimism, and overall well-being. Embracing this new found awareness is both compelling and fascinating, and with persistent practice, an act that will leave you feeling at ease.
9) Make your own personal playlist
Music can be a convenient and fun tool for practicing mindfulness as part of your daily routine. Creating a playlist of songs that bring you joy will help clear your mind and elevate your mood. Ideally, when listening to your playlist, you will focus on the words, beats and the overall vibe of the song while working to keep your mind calm and quiet.
10) Get creative
Finding a creative outlet and tapping into something you’re passionate about can bring another opportunity for mindfulness. If you are engaged in something you love, you are more likely to be fully present. Pay attention to the feelings that arise when you’re immersed in the activity. Indulge in the moment and embrace all you’re about to accomplish.
11) Be grateful
Become aware of the finer things in life. What would you miss if they were gone? Take moments throughout your day to show gratitude. You can do this silently or jot your thoughts down on a piece of paper. Expressing gratitude cultivates positivity. The more positive you become, the more likely you are to feel happiness, excitement, and long-term wellness. Start applying these mindfulness hacks today to prioritize the present moment, and to make the most of this beautiful life you have. Stop existing and start living. Isn’t that the point after all?