This guest post was contributed to us by Amanda Levine of Junablu.com
The term “mindfulness” can evoke images of monks meditating in the Himalayas with their minds completely quiet, as if they’ve achieved complete serenity, or perhaps of influencers with a slight smile, sitting cross-legged in front of an amazing view with the hashtag #mindfulnessmoment.
The former example is seemingly unattainable, the latter artificial, and neither is necessarily representative of the ways you could be practicing mindfulness. Yet together, these stereotypes contribute to the many barriers to entry between you and mindfulness, and your busy mind and life is obstacle enough.
But here’s the good news: Mindfulness is much simpler than either of these unattainable images.
You do not have to be a monk, you do not have to sit still and clear your mind of thoughts, and you also don’t have to buy a plane ticket to Bali, snap a photo in front of a scenic backdrop and share it with your thousands of followers.
You can become a monk, you can jetset across the world and make a living as an influencer and still practice mindfulness. More power to you. But I recommend starting small, at home, by yourself, with tools you already have at your disposal to organically introduce mindfulness into your life in a way that will help establish more consistent, lasting habits in the long term.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is as simple as living in the present moment with awareness and intention, and without judgement. Your mind might not stop racing, and it might be difficult at first, but engaging in mindfulness is just your cue to embrace your thoughts and observe them without judgement.
We have come up with a list of ways to help you easily introduce mindfulness into your life. One of the best and simplest ways to begin a mindfulness practice is through observation using your senses. Meaning, observe the world with your eyes, through sound, smell, taste, touch, breathing, movement and your mind.
Mindfulness is a practice, and as you practice it for short periods of time in your daily life, you will eventually see how you have organically and consistently added mindfulness into your routine.
8 Simple Ways To Introduce Mindfulness Into Your Life
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness — only you can define for yourself how you want to practice mindfulness each day — but here are eight simple ways to start.
Take a nature walk
Notice your posture, your breathing and the sounds of the terrain crunching underneath your feet. Observe with your eyes the beautiful details nature has laid out for you to explore.
Listen to surroundings
Slow down, take a deep breath, stop and observe the sounds of daily life. Do you hear a fan, nearby traffic, the breeze, your cat getting into shenanigans? Don’t just listen to respond, listen to observe and appreciate music or the small monotonous sounds you don’t typically recognize that are all around you.
Observe the smell, taste and feel of your morning beverage
Go through the act of making your morning beverage slowly and intentionally. How does the tea smell when the first drop of hot water hits it? How does the warm coffee mug feel around your hands? Breathe in the aroma and feel the hot steam waft over you.
It can be a big meal or even just one piece of chocolate. Using the latter example, notice the sea salt and tartness. How does the chocolate melt on your tongue? What does it taste like now that it’s melting?
Wash the dishes
Yes, you can turn your chores into mindfulness practice. The key to this is to move very slowly and to be aware and observant of the sensations you experience. Feel the heat of the water, the texture of the soap suds, and notice the shape of the bowl and how that texture and shape varies from the ribbed, glass cup you washed prior.
Take a bath
Notice the warm water on your toes as you step in. Notice the bath bubbles gently floating against your body, and the texture of the salt body scrub exfoliating your skin.
Focus your attention on the rising and falling of your chest. How deeply are you breathing? How does your stomach feel? Breathe in and out slowly, and observe how your body is responding to your surroundings. This can be done anywhere — in bed while listening to music, in the bath or shower, or in line waiting for coffee.
Notice your thoughts
This is easier said than done, but that just means this requires practice. Practicing mindfulness is not the time to make decisions and work through that one problem that has been nagging at you. This is the time for your brain and your heart to take a break. Put any of your thoughts on a boat and watch them drift down the river.
This is your time for your mind to relax and find joy in knowing that your thoughts, both positive and negative, are not your concern right now. You can do this by meditating, or you can do this by carving out brief, intentional moments throughout your typical routine. We are not always the kindest to our minds, but our minds work hard and deserve a break free of judgement.
Final thoughts on introducing mindfulness into your life
Now that you have a few ideas to get started, you can see how simple mindfulness can actually be. And you can see how these practices can seamlessly fit into your life. If you ever find yourself struggling mid-practice, take a deep breath and reset. Come back to your senses and feel how they are helping you experience this moment. By completing any of these tasks, with intention and awareness, and without judgement, you are now practicing mindfulness.