Inside: Looking for ways to help you live more consciously? Keep reading for 13 Simple Ways You Can Practice Mindful Living Today.
Disclaimer:All of these thoughts are my own. However, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission if you purchase from one of the links below.
Since being diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease, there’s not a day that goes by that I take for granted. Honestly, just the ability to ambulate and simply breathe is enough for me to feel grateful.
But, you don’t need to be diagnosed with a chronic illness to start practicing mindful living.
What does mindful living mean?
Mindful living is simply being aware of your surroundings and living fully in the present moment. You’re not ruminating on past regrets or anxious about your future – you’re just in the here and now.
The key to mindful living is focusing on the present moment without judgment. Essentially, you’re an active observer and participant in whatever the current moment entails.
How can I practice mindful living?
In order to truly practice mindful living, you must detach from your emotional responses as much as possible.
For example, let’s say that you just spent 30 minutes making a wonderful egg and pancake breakfast for your kids. You set breakfast on the table and your son decides that he doesn’t like eggs and pancakes anymore.
Like most moms, your instant (and totally normal) reaction would typically be to lash out in anger.
And, why wouldn’t it be? I mean, you just spent valuable time cooking him the breakfast you thought he wanted and now he doesn’t seem to appreciate it.
However, this is your chance to practice mindfulness.
Instead of immediately turning to anger, take a second for a deep breath and calmly ask your son why he has decided that he doesn’t like eggs or pancakes anymore. You can turn this into a moment of connection. He will appreciate you listening to him, and it will give you a better understanding of his choice.
Lastly, instead of viewing the uneaten breakfast as a waste, you can change your perspective to something like, “Oh, well. Now, I have breakfast already made for myself for the next two days.” The point of mindful living is to not immediately judge a situation through an emotionally charged mindset.
So, what are some other ways that you can practice mindful living today? Let’s take a look!
13 Simple Ways You Can Practice Mindful Living Today
1. Refrain From Judgement
Like I said earlier, one of the key components of mindful living is refraining from judgment. This means viewing your interactions through an unbiased lens – simply observe and seek more information.
For instance, we make snap decisions every day. Maybe, it’s the neighbor you view as unfriendly – but, have you ever thought that maybe they’re just introverted? Ridding yourself of judgemental conclusions can help you take less offense in situations where you think you’ve been wronged. In turn, this will help you avoid the victim mindset.
2. Focus on the Present
To practice mindful living, do not consume yourself with future desires. Instead, focus on the “right here, right now” and make the most of this very moment.
You must be intentional with your time. There’s a place for contemplating the future and goal setting, but space must be carved out for that. When you’re lost making plans for the future, you forget to appreciate what’s going on today.
3. Take a Walk
According to mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Walking meditation is a mindfulness practice that blends the physical experience of walking with the focused mindfulness of a meditative state. Walking meditation mobilizes meditation, allowing you to focus on mind-body connection as you pace or walk around a room or outside.”
So, throw on your earphones and take a walk while listening to a guided meditation.
4. Practice Mindful Eating
Also called the headspace diet, you can start living more mindfully today with your next meal. The headspace app recently launched a Mindful Eating and a Coping with Cravings series.
These series are designed to alleviate the guilt surrounding diet culture and help get you on track to conscious eating. By simply being aware of your triggers and understanding how to evaluate your hunger, you can have a more conscious relationship with food.
5. BREAK UNHEALTHY HABITS
Developing a greater sense of awareness will help you find your triggers. For instance, maybe every time you’re bored, your first reaction is to look at social media. However, you’re more than likely doing this out of habit, rather than true desire.
Practicing mindful living will help you recognize these triggers. Then, you can then put your time and energy into something that better aligns with your goals.
Obviously, meditating will always make it to a list on how to live more mindfully. According to Forbes, “One of the most interesting studies in the last few years, carried out at Yale University, found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.”
If you’re struggling at finding a way to incorporate mindfulness into your routine, you try following a daily meditation practice.
7. Practice Breathing Techniques
When you practice deep breathing, you activate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This means that you can basically trick your body into believing that you are calmer than you actually are just by taking deep breaths.
Check out this one-minute breathing exercise for help!
I started talk therapy after spending countless hours awake in bed at night. My therapist and I worked through some of the reasons why, and we figured that over 25% of my thoughts keeping me awake at night were dedicated to my to-do list.
She asked me to start writing down my to-do list before bed, so I could get it out of my system. She helped me realize that ruminating on my to-do list doesn’t solve anything. I can’t check off any of the tasks at 3 AM, so I might as well let these thoughts glide on by and resolve myself to dealing with them when I wake up. This compartmentalization tactic has helped me sleep so much better at night!
9. Get in Nature
“Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.”
So, head to a park! If a park isn’t convenient, then decorate your house with some indoor plants!
10. Let Go of Expectations
Letting go of expectations requires acceptance. You must allow yourself to accept whatever outcome life gives you. When something doesn’t fulfill our high expectations, we can often be left feeling disappointed. However, if we set our expectations too low, then we do ourselves a disservice by possibly never reaching our full potential.
Allowing yourself to find peace with the outcome of any situation will help you manage unrealistic expectations that often cause anxiety.
11. Create SOMETHING
Creating something – anything – can be one of the most therapeutic ways to focus on the present. You don’t have to be a Picasso to get started. Choose a hobby that you find relaxing and that will give you a sense of accomplishment when it’s done. It can be something as simple as cooking a new dish, gardening or writing a song. Whatever it Is, just make sure that you can give it your full attention.
12. Write a Gratitude List
Carve out five minutes everyday to write down 10 things you’re grateful for. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the minutiae of our lives that we forget to stop and remember the good things that are happening.
A great place to start is with the Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal. Each page of the journal includes space to record expressions of gratitude, personal affirmations, memories of positive interactions, and commentaries on the significance of it all.
13. Connect with your Senses
This is one of my favorite tricks that my therapist taught me. When I’m in a situation where I’m starting to get frazzled, I engage my senses. It looks something like this:
- What are 5 things you can see?
- Name 4 things you can touch.
- Name 3 things you can hear.
- What are 2 things you can smell?
- Name 1 thing you can taste.
Connecting with your senses can help you focus on the present moment. It also helps to give you a minute to calm down!
Final thoughts on 13 SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE MINDFUL LIVING TODAY
It doesn’t take a lot to start practicing mindful living. It’s mostly about developing awareness throughout your daily routine.
As you start to live a more intentional life, you’ll notice positive changes. You may have less anxiety or you may start sleeping better. The best thing is that there are no negative side effects from mindful living!
How do you incorporate mindful living into your daily lifestyle? Tell me in the comments below!
Allie Schmidt is a rare disease advocate and disabled mom living with motor neuron disease. She founded Disability Dame in 2020 to provide tips to other moms living with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
In her spare time, you can find her traveling with her husband (she's been to 38 states and 16 countries!), watching reruns of Survivor, or tending to her near-constant sunburn from spending too much time outside. You can follow her adventures here.