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3 Ways To Be More Mindful In Your Day-To-Day

Written by: Laryssa Levesque, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Mindfulness has been a buzzword over the last few years, and for a good reason. It is a proven method to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and to improve your overall health. For that reason, many healthcare professionals recommend daily mindfulness practice to improve one’s wellbeing, but people are often confused about how to be more mindful and, therefore reluctant to start. In this article, we will teach you 3 ways you can begin to cultivate mindfulness skills that are simple and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Mindfulness written on sand.

What is Mindfulness?

When most people hear the word mindfulness, they think of sitting in silence “meditating” with their eyes closed. And while that may be one way to practice mindfulness, it is certainly not the only. In the most basic sense, mindfulness means to be fully aware of the present moment. As well, there is non-judgemental element when being mindful, meaning that we are not reacting to our internal or external experiences; we simply notice and observe what is happening and let the moment pass freely.


With that definition in mind, mindfulness is actually quite a simple concept. However, to truly be present is extremely difficult and is a skill that takes consistent practice to master. It is completely normal for your mind to wander when focusing on a given task or to complete the task on autopilot. When we are not engaged in the present, we are said to be absentminded, which is the opposite of mindfulness. This happens to the best of us, so don’t be discouraged if you are struggling to stay focused on the following mindfulness activities. Simply notice when your mind has wandered, take a grounding breath, and bring your attention back to the present. Do not beat yourself up over “not doing it right” ‒ that would be judging your experience!


3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be extravagant or time-consuming. Many people get discouraged practicing mindfulness because they initially try guided meditations which may be long and difficult to follow. Guided meditations are a great way to practice mindfulness; but if you struggle to get into them, you can try other ways to familiarize yourself with the practice that don’t involve listening to a dedicated audio-track.


1. During Your Morning Routine

I don’t know about you, but when I’m getting ready in the morning my mind is wandering thinking about what I have to do that day or the most random things. Nonetheless, I am anything but mindful! Boring, mundane, and routine tasks are the most vulnerable for completing absentmindedly, which make for the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself to complete focused and mindful.


Any part of your morning routine is an opportunity for practicing mindfulness. Two great options are brushing your teeth or taking a shower. When you complete these tasks, really pay attention to all the sensory details ‒ textures, smells, tastes, sights, and sounds. What does your toothpaste taste like? Can you feel the tingly sensations from the minty flavour? What does your shampoo smell like? Pay attention to the items in your shower and soak in your surroundings (no pun intended!).


2. On Your Commute to Work

Have you ever driven home from work and thought back, “how did I even get here ‒ I don’t remember the drive at all!” If so, you probably drove on autopilot and weren’t really paying attention the entire time ‒ your brain and body just knew how to operate the vehicle and make the necessary turns to navigate home. Afterall, you’ve probably made that trip hundreds of times so it’s now habitual and doesn’t require much effort. And similarly, have you ever intended to run an errand after work but completely forgot? Again, you were probably on autopilot and forgot to make the detour to the other destination because your brain was on autopilot with home as the end goal.


Next time you are in the car, whether it's on your daily commute or not, try driving mindfully. When your mind wanders to something else, take note of that thought and resume your mindful practice by grounding yourself to the present moment through your senses. For example, focus on gripping the steering wheel, feeling the cool breeze from the AC, listen to the music on the radio, or take a thorough scan of your environment, noticing the houses, buildings, street signs, people, and landscape. Take it all in! You are still going to get to where you need to be in the same amount of time, so use your time wisely as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and learn to be more present in life.


3. Eating Meals

When it comes to our favourite meal or when we are starving, most people tend to scarf down their food like a wild animal. Kind of disappointing, though when it's all done and we feel like we didn’t get enough, right? Not only is mindful eating a way to practice mindfulness, but it is a way to help improve digestion, listen to hunger cues to eat the proper amount, control binge eating, increase satisfaction and enjoyment, and overall foster a better relationship with food.


So, whether it is a snack or a full meal, you can learn to be more mindful by slowing your pace and really focusing on all of the senses to help savour the moment. Pay attention to the flavours and textures of the food as well as how your body is feeling. By eating mindfully, you are going to have a totally different experience with your food ‒ give it a try!


The Bottom Line

Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be a daunting and lengthy task. There are many simple and effective ways you can practice mindfulness that won’t disrupt or add to your daily routine. Just 10 minutes a day of mindfulness practice can help make you feel better by lowering stress, anxiety, depression and overall boosting your health. If you want to support in enhancing your mindfulness skills or would like to learn other ways to improve your mental health in conjunction with mindfulness, a licensed therapist can help.


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Laryssa Levesque, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Laryssa is a Registered Psychotherapist and entrepreneur. She is the owner and clinical director of virtual mental health practice, Inner Growth Counselling & Psychotherapy, which provides comfortable, down-to-earth, and genuine therapy services to children, teens, adults, couples, and families. Her mission is to modernize therapy by making it accessible and convenient for people to seek help and destigmatize mental health issues. She believes that everyone would benefit from therapy to help them rediscover their authentic self, find balance and control in life, and live more meaningfully, free of the burden of mental health issues.

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