A recent study from Harvard found that 47% of our time is spent wandering in thought. That means that nearly half the time, we aren’t present with what we’re actually doing. How different would our lives be if we cultivated mindfulness? If we allowed ourselves to fully present in every experience? Here are five simple mindfulness practices to help you cultivate awareness in your everyday life and remain rooted in the present moment. The best part? The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Introducing a simple 5-10 minute mindfulness meditation once or twice throughout your day can completely reorient your perspective. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that mindful meditation can ease stress, anxiety, depression and even pain. Through meditation, we change the way our mind relates to thought. When unproductive or negative things arise, we learn to recognize them as just thoughts, gradually getting better at letting them ebb and flow without becoming attached. Try starting your practice with an app like Headspace to establish a solid base in the practice.
Stretch every day
Moving your body every day is so important. Whether it's a 15-minute yoga flow in the morning before you head to work or getting up to stretch at your desk throughout your day, dropping into your body through mindful movement will help you stay grounded in the present moment. While you stretch, try to maintain an awareness of your breath, filling and expanding your lungs from your belly up and fully exhaling as feels comfortable. Your breath in conjunction with the movements will get your circulation flowing, waking you up and connecting your body and mind for total awareness. Here's an easy morning flow to get you started.
Giving your body the hydration it needs is an act of self-love. It’s also an easy reminder to stay mindful and connected to your body throughout the day. With each sip, try to be aware of the water coming into your body: is it warm or cold? Does it have a taste? How does your body feel after you drink it? Whether it’s tea, water with berries or a supercharged water with supplement, getting liquid in your body is essential for healthy body and a happy mind. Try one of these reusable bottles to stay sustainable while you sip.
Explore with your senses
Fully engage your senses in each experience. Eat your meals mindfully; observe the spaces you enter; drink in your surroundings. Try to engage as many of your senses as you can in your immediate environment. In this way, you are actively bringing your mind down from whatever thoughts it may be wandering in and into your present environment Smell, touch, sound, taste, and sound are all there to ground you in here and now.
Get outside! Go for a walk, take a hike, grab a bike. Nature is here and now, always in its perfect state. Being fully present inside of that atmosphere can bring immense calm. By allowing ourselves to connect with the natural world, we allow ourselves to be just as we are. By non-judgmentally and gratefully observing what occurs around us, we are better able to understand what occurs within us and vice versa. Find your breathe in a quiet outdoor space and inhale the fresh air - explore with your senses, come fully into the present moment and deeply exhale.