Let me know if you’ve had this experience, I sure have.
You’re at home and you’ve just finished meditating. Your body is calm, your mind is still, and for now it seems you’ve found the peace and tranquility you were looking for.
But as the day goes on you start to notice more and more thoughts creeping back in. You leave the house, and by the time you’re in a crowded area before you even know it, your mind is racing a million miles a minute.
Don’t worry, this happens to all of us.
Bringing mindfulness into your life when you live in a modern city can be incredibly difficult.
A lot of the time we can feel like we’re far too busy for meditation or mindfulness practices. Add to this the overwhelming noise and the hustle and bustle of traffic and people, and we see that staying present and mindful can be a real challenge.
But how do we overcome this? How do we make sure that we stay mindful throughout the day, even outside of our regular meditation practice?
Well for most of us the answer is not to head for the hills and find a cave to meditate in. What we need to do is make the life we have – no matter how chaotic – a part of our practice.
Here are 11 ways to bring mindfulness into your life even if you’re busy.
Eating the perfect place to start bringing mindfulness into our daily life. We all have to eat!
You can focus on eating more slowly, really notice the texture and taste of your food, savor and enjoy it. This will also have the added benefit of making sure you eat less.
If you want to take this practice further, you can even think about where the ingredients that are in your meal came from. Who prepared them? Are they organic? Are they local or are they from the other side of the world?
Walking, like eating, is something we all have to do. Pay close attention to the weight of your feet and legs on the ground, are you walking smoothly or are you tense? Is your breathing consistent or stunted, is it shallow or deep?
Waiting for traffic lights
Whether you are on foot or in the car, waiting at traffic lights is likely to trigger some sort of impatience and even mild anxiety in a lot of us. We just can’t wait for the light to go green so we can take off and get on with our day.
Whenever you stop at a set of traffic lights, take a moment to relax, take a deep breath and just be mindful of the present moment.
Listening to music
Wherever you are listening to music, make sure you are really immersed in the experience. Instead of using your playlist as a stimulant for more mental chatter, use it as a way to quiet your mind – really focus on what you are listening to.
Brushing your teeth
Most of us do this at least twice a day, so it is another great opportunity to take a break in our day and regain a sense of calmness and clarity.
Making your bed
Making your bed has been known to be one of the keystone habits for an organized life. Doing so with complete presence can not only offer you a great mindfulness anchor but can also help you become more organized and strengthen your willpower.
Set a mindfulness alarm
Though technology can be incredibly distracting, setting a mindfulness alarm can actually be a good anchor to get you into the habit. You might want to start with something manageable like three alarms a day, then slowly and progressively build it up to every hour or even more frequently.
Drinking Tea or Coffee
Tea and coffee are something we should enjoy, but more often than not they can become just an unconscious part of our routine. Try to still your mind as your prepare the drink, be grateful for the routine and drink the tea or coffee slowly.
Like eating, brushing your teeth or walking, this is something most of us are going to be doing. It might only take a minute or two, but you can practice mindfulness by paying attention to the texture of the clothes as you put them on in the morning, or take them off at night.
Another way is to notice the water on your skin when you hop in the shower. How forceful is the water? What’s the temperature like? You can even experiment with cold showers and use them as a way to practice deep breathing.
Taking off your shoes
Getting home from a long day and taking off your shoes is a great feeling. Make sure you really appreciate it by staying mindful as you do so. You can sit down for a moment, wiggle your toes, pay attention to the sensations you experience and really appreciate how good your feet feel.
Bringing mindfulness into your life outside of a regimented meditation practice is a great way to stay calm and present throughout the day.
How have you brought mindfulness into your daily life? Let us know in the comments!