Ok, let out the big sigh now. Yes, we’re talking about mindfulness in this blog post, but no, it’s not going to be uber crunchy or involve saying ohm in any capacity. If the idea of a sound bath is about as ridiculous to you as the possibility of Santa Claus, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a few moments of mindfulness.
Mindfulness means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so you just need to adjust it to your specific needs. You don’t have to give into any fad, sign up for a membership, or buy the book all your friends swear is life-changing. All you really have to do is figure out the most believable way for you to pay attention to this moment.
Still don’t believe us? Here’s a good reason to give into mindfulness: there is a cost that comes with ignoring your emotional health entirely. The perks of mindfulness include increased creativity, appreciation, stress-relief, and even improved sleep––things you really don’t want to be missing out on.
For the mindfulness-weary, here are 7 ways to incorporate “being in the moment” into your routine that don’t involve crystals, gurus, or Kundalini anything:
1. Try a 5 senses exercise.
The “5 Senses Exercise” is a great way to focus all your intention on creating a mindful moment. In almost any situation, you can practice this ultra pragmatic mindfulness exercise. No one even has to know you’re doing it.
Simply take a minute to ask yourself the following questions:
What do you see? Look around, and note five different details you might not normally notice. The color of a sign. The lines on a leaf. A shadow stretching across the concrete. Look high and low in the space you’re in.
What do you feel? Whether you’re sitting or walking, you can use your sense of touch to notice four sensations. Do you feel the bumpy asphalt beneath your shoes? Is the wind a bit chilly against your face? Is your dog pulling on the leash? Is your sweater scratchy?
- What do you hear? This one can help you pick up unique sounds you may not have noticed otherwise because your mind was too busy. Do you hear kids laughing? Birds chirping? The noise of a nearby construction site?
- What do you smell? Scents can be both pleasant and unpleasant, of course. But note what you smell. The fumes from a diesel truck that drove by? The scent of freshly baked bread from the local bakery? Take it all in.
- What do you taste? This one may encourage you to take action or simply enjoy a current meal you’re eating. What flavors do you detect?
Mindfulness challenge: Anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed or need to quickly center yourself, give this exercise a try.
2. Spark joy
When you’re mindful about sparking joy, every moment is an opportunity to have your whole attention focused on a joyful moment. The above exercise is a great way to notice the joy in all actions and moments of your day. Whether you’re walking your dog, feeling the breeze on your skin, or enjoying your morning latte. For every waking moment, bring your attention to your senses and how you can receive the moment in a joyful manner.
Mindfulness challenge: Throughout your day, pick up on bits of joy you give or receive, like a smile, a kind email, or even a compliment.
3. Mindful listening
During your last conversation, do you remember what the other person said? If you can’t, chances are you may have been distracted and completely missed being present in the conversation. If you listen mindfully, you’ll be able to better retain information and your attention span will strengthen.
Tips to listen mindfully:
Put the distractions away - Physical distractions can aggravate and take away from conversations. Whether it’s movement noticed through an open door, a cell phone on a desk, or another electronic device, try to remove those distractions during conversations.
Give yourself a moment - Before an important meeting or even a casual encounter, take a few minutes to clear your mind. You might journal or take a pause and do some deep breathing. When you do so, you clear your thoughts and open up your mind to be able to fully connect with the person you’re about to meet.
Withhold judgment - When someone shares a personal anecdote with you, see if you notice any judgments popping up as they speak. It may be the way they tell the story, the subject of what they’re telling you, their response to a certain situation, or something else entirely. When you listen mindfully, you quiet those thoughts that otherwise serve as a distraction during the entire conversation. Simply listen and then respond neutrally.
Mindfulness challenge: In moments when you feel yourself about to interrupt someone, stop. Do your best to let them finish their thoughts before you start yours.
Sometimes mindful listening means paying attention to your body’s cues when it comes to being stressed out. Unwind with our new, relaxing shot, DE-STRESS, which contains passionflower and Reishi mushroom to help you calm your mind.
4. Spend time in nature.
Studies show that taking a stroll in natural green spaces may also put the brain in a more meditative state. Green, leafy areas or natural areas––like a park, hiking trail, or even a coastline––can make you happier and more relaxed. When you spend time in nature, you’ll increase your mental energy and potentially unleash new ways of thinking when you change your scenery to natural settings every now and then.
Mindfulness challenge: Make it a point to get outdoors at least once a day. Whether it’s five minutes or five hours, you’ll feel refreshed to move with mindfulness throughout the rest of your day.
Your breaks don’t need to be anything fancy, either. It’s just a moment to take a pause and reset.
A few ways to take a quick break:
- Do a yoga pose
- Watch a sunset
- Walk your dog
- Watch the stars
- Enjoy a cup of tea
- Try deep breathing
- Read a few chapters of a book
Mindfulness challenge: Take the time today to be intentional about having a break. Whether it’s taking a two-minute breather from your kids or enjoying a short walking break during your lunchtime, look at opportunities to build-in breaks and relax.
6. Connect with yourself.
How are you numbing yourself? Sometimes, it’s easy to skip over emotions. After all, they’re messy and distracting and get in the way. But, it’s important to strengthen your connection to yourself consciously. Doing so on a regular basis helps you stay in touch with your emotions and also makes it easier for you to connect with others.
You can connect with yourself by acknowledging your feelings, naming the emotions, accepting them as they are, and practicing self-compassion. In doing these activities, you can mindfully connect with yourself to better understand your emotions and responses to certain situations. Make it a daily process and it becomes easier over time to be mindful of your emotional triggers and how to best handle them.
Mindfulness challenge: Journal your emotions for a week. See how it feels to allow yourself to feel and express your emotions. It can help you uncover thinking patterns and ways you may stop yourself from fully accepting who you are.
7. Mindful walking
When you head outdoors, you’re physically moving into a new space. That alone can be a mindful movement. As you start your walk — whether it’s on a trail or around the block — make it a point to be aware of every step through your environment.
Ways to mindfully walk:
Be comfortable - When you decide to start taking mindful walks, you’ll want to be comfortable. Consider changing your shoes and wearing loose clothing that’s not restrictive. This allows you to focus on the walk and your movements without distraction.
Move without a goal - Don’t force yourself to hit a certain number of steps, for example.
Breathe - Be aware of your breath and how it flows in and out.
Notice your surroundings - Take time to notice the grass poking through the cracks in the sidewalk. Watch the way the breeze moves the leaves on trees. Delight in how your dog wags its tail or looks up at you as you walk together.
Other than physically benefiting from moving your body, you can set yourself up for an improved mood and a better night’s sleep.
Mindfulness challenge: Next time you step outdoors, leave your phone behind. Skip listening to music. Just walk in silence and see what you notice about your quiet time.
Give into mindfulness, but on your terms.
You’re skeptical of wellness fads, and that’s okay. That’s why these simple practices will probably work a lot better for you. The aim of the game isn’t to give into the mindfulness hype, but to consider slowing down and focusing on all the sensations you’re feeling in the moment.
If you’ve been meaning to give mindfulness a try, but thought it was outside your realm of reason, these easy methods can help you reset and refocus your intentions.
What are your favorite examples of mindfulness? Share with us in the comments below! Want another way to unwind? Give our newest relaxing shot, DE-STRESS, a try!