Let’s be real, its SO easy to get caught up in the “living in the future” mindset – too easy. This mindset often breeds a lot of worry, concern, and keeps you focused on the next thing instead of what’s right in front of you. Most of the time you don’t even notice! This happens to me on the daily. It’s important to stay connected with yourself to remain in a more uplifting, positive, calm mindset. The mindset where you know you’re okay and that things are changing, so you focus more on the exact moment you’re in; because you don’t have to worry. We can practice this mindset through mindfulness. Mindfulness keeps us aware and in the present moment, and turns off that feeling of living on autopilot.
When we worry, we’re feeding any discomfort or fear for the future, or regret or resentment from the past. These feelings often stir up feelings of anxiety and buy into these thought patterns when we’re not aware. And like I said, it’s easy to follow through with! These 13 tips for mindfulness have helped immensely to bring me back into the present moment and encourage a sense of calm & peace.
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13 Ways to Stay Mindful Throughout Your Day
1. Return to Your Breath
Take a moment to notice your breath flowing in and out of your body. If you notice it to be fast, notice it slowing down. Slowing down our breathing creates a shift in the autonomic nervous system from a sympathetic response (fight or flight) to a parasympathetic response (calm). It’s is a no brainer (ha) when brain science is involved! This is my number 1 go-to activity when I need to come back to the present moment – only takes a few breaths to stay consistent.
2. Have a To-do List to Refer to
Getting caught up in trying to remember all of the things you have to do is exhausting! You find yourself working on one task, but thinking about what you have to do 3 hours from now so you don’t forget or get “too caught up”. This is what exactly keeps you checked out of the moment.
Writing a list of your daily tasks to accomplish helps easily break it down into tangible activities. If its easier for you, you can even organize them by time or include a certain amount of time per task. This way you know that all you have to focus on from 3:00 to 3:30 is cooking lunch and you don’t have to think or worry about anything else!
3. Set a Timer
Theres a good chance you’ve purposely, yet unknowingly kept yourself out of enjoying the present moment by literally not allowing yourself to! This looks a little something like thinking about something you have to do later today so you focus more on that approaching instead of what you are doing right now. “I can’t get too caught up in this game because I have to make sure I’m ready for my event later”.
If this has happened to you once or twice it is SO helpful to set a timer. This works so well in conjunction with having your to-do list, so if you want to spend 45min on a task completely focused – trust that the timer will alert you when it’s time to either take a break, or move on to the next task. So easy!
4. Take Appropriate Breaks
You notice your focus fading; you start to daydream, think of old memories, or play out your future plans in your mind. When our brain gets tired it will naturally create distractions to keep you from your task. It’s important to step away and allow yourself a little time for something else between the “have to” tasks.
I’ve found this to work super helpful with a timer; for example I would set a certain amount of time to focus on the task – when the timer goes off I allow myself 10-15 minutes to get up & stretch, have some food or water if needed, change up the scenery for a moment – all small reminders of being right here, right now. You can even set a timer for your break too if you find that to be helpful 🙂
5. Connect with Your Senses
This one works wonders when you start to feel a overwhelmed, worried, or anxious.
Notice what you can see
Notice what you can hear
Notice what you can physically feel
Can you taste anything?
What do you smell?
Looking out for what is in your physical surroundings takes you out of dreamland and into the land of right now.
6. Stay Hydrated
You know I rave about drinking water at any moment I can but if you want a magical cure this is it my friends. I mean it’s not stand-alone magic, but still magic.
A hydrated brain is a happy, well functioning brain. You’ve probably heard that our bodies are made up of 70% water, right? This continually needs to be replenished as it isn’t there to stay. Even when you’re not all that thirsty you’re still losing water in some form; especially if the air you’re in isn’t very humid. A room humidifier is a great way to add moisture into the air to help with your intake as well.
When you’re feeling hydrated it’s so much easier to focus. Take note the dehydrating drinks (caffeine especially) you may be consuming more of as these can hinder your focus and keep you going back for more. For all you coffee lovers at least fire for a 2:1 ratio water > coffee, your body, brain, and sense of patience will thank you.
7. Do ONE Thing At a Time
There’s this strange illusion where we somehow feel more productive the more activities we do at once? What is up with that haha it’s actually rather counterproductive. Although I too sometimes like to attempt to convince myself otherwise.
While this can bring a lot of short-term gratification, it’s quite detrimental for the long run and usually prolongs the process. Connect to your awareness when you find yourself multitasking and choose the one of highest priority. From there you can set a timer, create a list, or take a break!
8. Allow Yourself Some Fresh Air
A change of environment, nature, and fresh air all stimulate the senses. This helps to connect back with your senses, leaving your only focus on the present moment. Notice what’s around you, what the wind feels like, how the temperature is.. simply take note.
9. Listen to Music
I think this one can actually go either way because for some people, music is a distraction while for others, music helps them focus. You know best on this one and how music affects you; however if it helps, I encourage you to put on some good tunes & enjoy. Focus on the tune, sing along to the words – if you think about it you never really sing the next line before the current line is over so, why do that with your thought process?
Do you have a favourite go-to focus genre or song?! I’d love to hear it!
10. Change Up Your Routine
Constantly doing the same or similar activities day in and day out for a significant period of time can be b o r i n g. Theres minimal excitement when we have an idea of what to expect or predict of our days. Change it up! Keep what works and change up what doesn’t – accept that this will be forever changing. Just go with it ~
11. Declutter Your Space
Have you ever heard that there is often a correlation between the state of your physical environment, and the state of your mind?
If your space is quite cluttered you probably have a lot on your mind and might be focusing on multiple things; feeling overwhelmed.
If your space doesn’t have much clutter and is fairly clean, you’re probably feeling at ease and aren’t thinking about too much.
Knowing this, you can either allow your mindset to determine itself, or you can determine your mindset through your environment. Take a few minutes and remove anything that is no longer needed or useful to you – you’d be surprised the difference it makes moving forward. When you stay on top of this act (when you can), the clutter doesn’t become too overwhelming or overbearing and things seem easier to handle.
If cleaning isn’t that fun of a task for you, try to make it fun! Incorporate some of the ideas above – put on some music, have a friend help you; anything to enjoy the time you spend during this process.
12. Find Fun in What You’re Doing
No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, or any other less than ideal activity – if you have to do it, at least have fun with it!!
No matter the activity, you’re always posed with 2 choices. You can choose to find the fun and enjoyment in a task, or you can choose to find the dread, discomfort, un-fun parts of a task.
So I mean, why NOT enjoy it?!
It’s even fun to find ways to be creative enough to make it fun. For example, turning grocery shopping into a game. Now this game can change each time – but no matter what it is, it will keep you in focus of fun in the moment that you’re in.
13. Meditate; Do Something You Love
Spending time focusing solely on something you absolutely love is sure to keep you mindful and in the moment. I tie this one into mediation because meditation doesn’t always look like sitting crossed legged on the floor with your eyes closed in silence, thinking.
For me meditation looks like swimming, or journaling, or painting. Somewhere I can be completely with my thoughts and in a space of safe acknowledgement. It’s easiest for me to think when I’m engaged with something, rather than just sitting and trying to focus. Any expressive type of activity can work well as a meditation and help you stay mindful. Even so, if sitting solo in silence works for you, definitely keep up with that! Having that you time with only your thoughts it’s so so powerful.
Whether you find one of these, 4 of these, or 10 of these to be helpful; take what sticks with you and run with it to find yourself living day to day more mindfully instead of on autopilot. Gone are the days of watching each day fly by without a minor memory of what you did. There’s no need to rush your one life, sit back and enjoy each moment.
You got this
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