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How to Incorporate Mindfulness in Your Daily Routine

What springs to mind when we hear the term ‘mindfulness’ will be different for everyone. For some, it may make them think of a ‘zen’ like state and practising yoga; for others, it might bring to mind deep breathing and other relaxation techniques. 

Whatever your interpretation of mindfulness, however, the benefits of practising it daily are undeniable.

What Is Mindfulness?

Put simply, mindfulness is the act of being fully present in whatever you’re doing. Some activities make it easier to practice mindfulness than others, e.g., focusing on your breathing or what you’re eating (more on these later!), while others may take a little more work.

Mindfulness can be practised through meditation, or it can be done while doing something mundane like washing the dishes. However, you choose to practice it, it must be done with intention. This means you physically tell yourself ‘I’m going to practice mindfulness now,’ or words to that effect; otherwise, your mind will end up wandering without you realising and will defeat the point of practising.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Although not to be used as a substitute for professional mental health support, mindfulness can vastly improve your mental health if done regularly:

  • It can reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and help ease other mental health conditions.
  • Mindfulness can help calm extreme emotions as it allows people to accept what they’re feeling rather than repressing their feelings.
  • Mindfulness can help improve physical health by lowering blood pressure and easing chronic pain.
  • It can improve self-control due to the need to remain focused on the present.

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine doesn’t have to be daunting. Here we’ll go through a couple of basic exercises that can be practised every day. It’s also important to remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to practice mindfulness; if you find your mind wandering, simply guide it back to the present. As you do these exercises daily, you’ll find it becomes easier to remain in the present and that it is also easier to return there whenever you find your mind wandering.

Exercise 1: Focus on The Breath

For those new to mindfulness, it’s recommended that you use the breath as your point of focus due to its grounding nature.

  1. First, take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth until you feel sufficiently relaxed and ready to begin the exercise.
  2. Next, close your eyes and breathe normally.
  3. Begin to focus on your breath. Notice your chest and stomach moving as you breathe. Notice the air flowing into your body and filling your lungs. Be fully present and focused on your breath.
  4. If your mind begins to wander or think of other things, simply bring your attention back to your breath and continue the exercise.
  5. After a few minutes or whenever you’re ready, open your eyes.

Again, your ability to focus for longer on your breath will improve with time, as will your ability to more quickly notice your mind wandering and therefore bring your attention back to the present.

Exercise 2: Mindful Eating

As you become more used to the concept of mindfulness, you may be ready to move onto a new exercise. Mindful eating is excellent because it’s something you can do every day and doesn’t take any extra time out of your day. This one’s a bit different from the deep breathing exercise as we’ll be focusing on more than just the breath. However, the concept of remaining fully present is the same.

  1. First, take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth until you feel sufficiently relaxed and ready to begin the exercise.
  2. Next, look at what you’re about to eat. Notice the colour and texture. Is it bright or dull? Does it have any distinctive features?
  3. Now, pick up the food and feel it in your hand. What does it feel like? Is it rough or smooth? Soft or hard?
  4. Notice what the food smells like. Does it have a distinctive scent? Does it remind you of anything?
  5. Finally, begin to eat the food and notice what it feels like in your mouth. Does it break up easily? Is it chewy? How does it taste?
  6. Again, if you find your mind wandering, guide your attention back to your food.

This exercise can take some getting used to as it might be tempting to eat how you normally would without much thought, especially as it’s more common than ever to eat in front of the TV or while doing something else.

Ultimately, mindfulness can easily be practised anywhere by using the concepts described above and applying them to different scenarios. Through practising mindfulness daily and incorporating it into your daily routine, you’ll soon begin to see a multitude of both physical and mental health benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, reduced physical pain, and the improved ability to manage and regulate your emotions.