11 Ways to Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Life Today

One of the most common questions i’m asked these days is “how can i bring more mindfulness into my every day life?”

So today i’ll share the 11 strategies I find most effective and commonly use to infuse mindfulness into my whole day.

I hope you try them out for yourself and experience first hand the transformative power of mindful living.

1. One Minute Of Mindfulness

You can introduce short ‘meditation minutes’ throughout your day. You will need a clock or timer for this exercise. Set the time for one minute. During this time, your task is to focus your entire attention on your breathing, and nothing else.

You may practice with your eyes either open or closed. If you lose touch with breath and become lost in thought during this time, simply let go of the thought and gently bring attention back to the breath. Bring attention back as many times as you need to.

Minute meditations can be a wonderful practice for times when your start to feel a little stressed or aggravated.

2. Mindful Listening – An Act of Love

When listening to another person we are often there in body, but not fully present. Very often, we are not focusing on listening to them; we are caught up in our own mind chatter. We judge what they are saying, mentally agreeing or disagreeing, or we think about what we want to say next.

Next time you’re with a loved one or co-worker, try using your time as an exercise in mindfulness. Don’t just hear their words; really listen to what they’re saying.

Focus all of your attention on the other person. You’ll be amazed at the power of listening; it’s an act of love and kindness. People appreciate it deeply when you truly listen to them. You’ll also find that they’ll listen to you more fully when you speak.

3. Transformational ‘Chores’

Turn your ordinary household tasks into mindfulness sessions. For many of us, housework takes up quite a good portion of our lives. Instead of thinking of it as just a boring chore, the task can becomes a mindfulness ritual.

The next time you have to prepare dinner or do the laundry, focus all of your awareness on the task at hand, in the present moment. Aim to be fully engaged in what you are doing and not caught up in mind chatter or just rushing to the end of your task.

For instance, if doing the laundry, as you fold the clothes, don’t rush through it simply ‘getting it done’. Notice the feel and textures of the fabrics -how fresh they smell. Pay attention to the patterns and colours and the way they are affected by the light of the room. Make folding into a sort of yoga practice and move with mindfulness, attentive to each fold.

In this way, every little act becomes a sacred ritual. It keeps you in tune with the moment, with yourself, your space and even the world around you—all functioning in harmony.

4. Eating With Awareness

Eating mindfully can help you reclaim the pleasure of food. So many of us have become out of touch with this, one of life’s most simple and wonderful pleasures. Mindful eating has been shown to aid weight loss and have aided healthy digestion.

When you sit for your meal, turn off all distractions and focus on your immediate experience. Before you begin to eat, pause. Look at your food, take notice of the scent.

When you eat take small bites and eat slowly. Be fully present in the moment with your experience.

5. Slow Down!

Our culture is one of business, effort, deadlines, striving and achieving. The information age has us racing through life at a pace that would make our forefathers’ heads spin— but are we happier?

Many of us rarely allow ourselves to slow down and be fully present for the precious moments of our lives, and we’re shortchanging our lives living like that.

Physically slowing down helps us to mentally slow down. We get more pleasure out of life when we slow down like this. Take some time out to eat a meal and really connect with your family (With the TV off!).

Walk barefoot on the grass, enjoying the sensation. Take time to connect with a customer instead of “selling” to them. Do one thing at a time and be there, fully.

6. One Thing At A Time

For a couple of decades now, the catch phrase has been “multi-tasking.” Some people boast of their multitasking abilities on their resumes or at job interviews, others do it among friends and family as they talk about the things they try to get done in a day.

There is a myth that multitasking make us more productive; in reality, it drains us faster. Trying to spread our attention so thin and keep up with so many things makes us more prone to mistakes. We’re not more productive; we’re just busier, both mentally and physically, exhausting ourselves needlessly.

Try changing your focus to doing just one thing at a time. Take on each task with full awareness, one by one. When mindfully doing a task, you’re less prone to rushing, mistakes or forgetting details. You’ll find you can be more efficient with the task, and finish it without feeling worn out or tense.

When your ‘doing’ simply be there fully, with all of your attention, for each moment of it. Remember – Life is not a to-do list. It’s meant to be enjoyed!

7.’Watch’ The Mind

Through self-observation, mindfulness automatically streams into your life. The moment you realize you are not being mindful – you are mindful! You have stepped out of the continuous mental dialogue of the mind and are now the observer. You are now watching the mind instead of being swept of in its current.

Any time you watch thoughts, you are being mindful. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can, especially any repetitive thought patterns. As you listen, aim to do so an impartial witness. You’ll soon realize, “there is the voice, and here I am listening to it. I am not the mind.”

The key is this – Don’t believe your thoughts. Don’t take them all that seriously. Watch them, question them. In this way, thoughts and conditioned, reactive ways of living and thinking lose their hold over you. You no longer have to play them out.

8. Nothing Time

Living in a culture where idleness is frowned on has made many of us forget how to be still and do nothing at all. The mentality has been ingrained in us that screams, do, do, do! Go, go, go! The idea of sitting and doing nothing can be so foreign to us, it makes many feel uncomfortable—guilty, even.

We don’t have to be doing all the time, though. Take some nothing time each day. Even if it’s just five minutes, sit for that five minutes and do… nothing.

Sit silently in a favourite chair or in a sunny spot outside. If possible without mobile phones, beepers or other distractions near you. Become still. Bring your full awareness into the present moment and to your sensory perceptions. All that exists for you is the here and now.

You may be amazed at how pleasurable and satisfying it is just to ‘be’ – How much taking five minutes from your day will give back to your life.

9. Mindful Walking

Walking can give you a chance to spend time being mindful without taking any extra time from your day. Whether you’re walking around your neighborhood, from the car to the store or through the hallways at work, you can turn it into a meditative exercise.

Before even rising out of your chair, turn your attention to your intent to walk mindfully. Rise and allow yourself to become aware of the sensation of standing. Put your attention on your body. Pause,  take one conscious breath.

Begin to move your feet. If possible you can walk slowly and deliberately to aid you in your practice. Notice how the floor feels under your feet, how your clothes feel swishing around your body. Pay attention to the details in your surroundings—the architecture of the building, the plants you are passing, and the birds singing in the trees.

Be present in your here in and now experience. Aim to be there for every step.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” 
― Thich Nhat Hanh

10. Come To Your Senses

The essence of mindfulness is the ability to let go of the mind’s noisy compulsive chatter and to touch deeply the stillness that lies underneath. To be mindful is to be in a state where you’re highly alert and not ‘lost’ in thinking.

To access the state you can use your senses. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing give your senses your fullest attention. You can turn any moment into a mindfulness practice by this method.

Whatever you sense, go into it fully. Explore the world with your senses. Visually observe details of your environment, such as the curve or a tree branch or the arch of a doorway or the play of light in the room you are in. Be fully engrossed in the looking but without mental labeling of any kind. Look with ‘bare awareness’.

As you go about your day be mindful of the feel of sun on your skin or the wind in your hair when you leave the house. Be mindful of the softness of a chair, or the smoothness of a stone. Take a breath and put your focus on what scents you’re taking in.

To be fully engaged in sense perception like this draws attention into the moment and out of all that mental noise. It brings a sense of fresh aliveness and wonder into our day.

11. Urge Surfing

Sometimes we have urges, cravings, impulses—addictions even.

These can actually be transformed into a wonderful ‘wake up call’ into mindfulness.

The next time you feel an urge, know that you don’t have to fight it; you don’t have to follow or give into it either. You can simply be there to observe it with mindful awareness.

This technique is sometimes referred to as urge surfing.

Urges ebb and flow, just like waves. With urge surfing, we bring awareness into the urge itself—how it feels in the body, in the moment. We simply acknowledge we are having an urge and we allow it to be there without getting caught up in the thoughts about it. In this way we ride it out instead of pushing the urge away or following it.

If a sensation of craving comes to you or you notice yourself having impulsive thoughts – see if you can firstly simply acknowledge their presence “oh I’m feeling a craving for chocolate”. Observe it directly, as an impartial witness.

Notice if the craving has a physical sensation in the body. Note if you are having ‘wanting’ thoughts. See them for what they are – just thoughts. Aim to remain ‘present’ for the duration of the wave which usually only lasts maximum of 30 minutes.

Each time you successfully surf an urge, you make it easier to do so next time. Urge surfing can, with practice, liberate you from addictive and compulsive behaviours while bringing the benefits of mindfulness into your life even more.

I hope these 11 tips give you as much joy as they give me! Let me know how you go by writing in the comments below. If you have any questions or maybe some tips of your own jot them down there too!

Love

Melli

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Comments

  1. Mai Lien Quiaoit Gamboa says:

    I like this. I try to do many of these. But I still need to be reminded every so often. Thanks!

  2. Jessica H says:

    Thank you for this. I am sorely in need of some change in my life and I think these techniques will be just the ticket.

  3. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I am quite new to practicing mindfulness and really appreciate the way you have explained the different ways of being able to practice in the way we live our lives again thank you.

  4. Very good article. I like to practice each and every one of these daily. It’s quite liberating when you realize that you are not the mind. I try to bring mindfulness to everything I do (easier said than done) I particularly like to focus on listening intently to someone who is speaking to me by bringing my focus to my breath while I listen. Every time I get up to make a tea, I bring awareness of the intent to make a tea and try to focus on the sensations of the body as I walk.

    • Hey Mike, Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are already bringing mindfulness into much of your daily life. I couldn’t agree more about the ‘i am not my mind’ realization. What a liberation indeed! Do you also practice formal meditation each day?

  5. Hello Melli,

    I am from Belgium (Europe) and I just discovered your blog. I’ve been practicing mindflulness since a couple of years now and I particulary think that feeling my innerbody as soon as I can is really powerfull. Yet there are still some situations when it’s difficult for me to do it and those are usually social situations, for instance when I go out with friends or when I teach (I’m a school teacher). So my question is, would you (or anyone here) have some advices to help me keep practicing mindfulness in those specific contexts (that are the more challenging ones, but also the more important to me). How do you manage to pay attention in the present moment while speaking or teaching?

    • Hi and thanks for touching base. There is no doubt that for many of us (myself included) communicating mindfully with others can be a challenge. There is a power in simply having the intention to communicate more mindfully. Perhaps you could take one deep slow conscious breath before you start teaching or when you know that you are going to have a challenging conversation. This simple practice will help you stay grounded in the present moment.

      I find that having a daily practice of mindfulness helps me to maintain a rootedness in mindfulness throughout the day. I’m sure that you would find this extraordinarily helpful as well.

      When I teach retreats and do talks, I often allow a silent pause before I start speaking. It is a moment to collect myself and my energies and to simply be comfortable sitting with the people there. It also helps me connect to WHY i’m there and what i really want to give or convey. it helps me communicate from a deeper more genuine place inside myself. I hope this is helpful for you – warmly, Melli.

      • joe glancy says:

        I really like the pause idea before you speak
        it would be a great practice to incorporate!
        need a bell to remind me!

        Cheers

        Joe

  6. Great list! It is so important to incorporate mindfulness into our days, especially amidst the hustle and bustle most of us struggle through. Thanks for sharing!

  7. useful info and tips…

  8. Mindfully listening has been really transformational for me. I didn’t realise how little I listened to people, but planning my response instead. Listening mindfully has been a huge help to my practice. Great list. Really helpful. Thank you.

  9. hi Melli, I have been thinking of mindfulness for sometime now but have been very sporadic when it came to practicing it. These pointers are so awesome and doable but ofcourse mindfully. Am so happy that I stumbled across this website on my child’s school newsletter and now I am so looking forward to the summit.

    Jayshree

  10. Thank You! Have just finished reading before going to sleep. It gave me such a feeling of peace and also had a very calming affect on me. My intension is continue these practises to make mindfulness a way of life.
    Again Thank You.

  11. I had to re ‘mind’ myself to slow down and pay attention to the steps to mindfulness as I was reading them! Ha…so much I have to learn….

    • Susan Scrimgeour says:

      Love these tips….I ‘mindfully’ created paleo zucchini mini muffins today…..and eventually ‘mindfully’ ate one…..it was such an explosion of taste and sensation that I felt so satisfied. Later throughout the day I recalled that experience and that helped me ‘urge surf’ to ride out other ‘wants’ and ‘potential cravings’…especially with all the extra ‘Hallowe’en Chocolate’ around today. Thanks for helping me to become more mindful in this ‘second half’ of my life. So glad the Mindfulness Summit crossed my path….I’m looking forward to exploring and discovering more about myself as I learn to integrate mindfulness into my life.

  12. I have been exploring mindfulness for some time but have never actually incorporated it into my everyday living. This is all about to change thanks to your Mindfulness Summit. One aspect of my life that really needs help is my addiction to alcohol so my journey is beginning now with “Mindfulness Sobriety”. I will be using as many of the tools and suggestions you have provided through mrsmindfulness.com and the summit to help guide me along. Thank you Melli for providing me with the impetus to practise such a valuable and important new way of life xx

  13. Thanks for this! It came at a perfect time. I was letting myself get all caught up in the chatter in my head and in too much multitasking. Now I am breathing and being! Thanks again!

  14. Dearest Melli , your point about surfing the urge is really what I need to learn right now . My unhelpful urge is to contact my ex to let him know I still love him and miss him . This then brings me into a cycle of being wrapped up in the past , refusing to let go and wishing things had been different . Which is anti mindfulness and very painful too . If I can practice surging the next urge maybe I can break the pattern ? This has been going on for nearly a year now . The longest I’ve managed is around 3 to 4 weeks ! Thank you . I have read lots about mindfulness and enjoyed the summit. I intrinsically know that I am mindful without realising and try to practice formally too but this situation is testing me every day .
    This 11th lesson has helped me although still hard to do

  15. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂

  16. I love this! I would also add that taking time to be creative is helpful. After doing the mindfulness summit, I just started a blog where I try to write a haiku almost every day. Feel free to see what I’ve got so far and write one yourself on there! It’s a great way to connect with your inner creativity!
    https://hikoos.wordpress.com/

  17. Hi Melli, I am so glad to have come across these 11 tips for mindfulness this morning! I ended my day a bit out of sorts, letting my fears (of financial lacking) get the better of me. When I awoke this morning I knew that I needed tools to start all over with a better and ‘less fearsome’ attitude, so I came into your website, knowing you could help.
    Now, having read these, I will begin my day with renewed awareness for the beauty that surrounds me, the joy that mindfulness brings and the laughter that thinking of you and remembering good times together, have brought to me.
    I wanted to send you my love and gratitude. I hope we cross paths again. Please return to Costa Rica some time!

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