Setting aside special time for being mindful—such as meditation—is a great practice. But there are opportunities every day to turn a mundane, or even frustrating situation into a moment of mindfulness. Here are some ways to be more present, from morning to night.
Mornings can get rushed and hectic, setting a stressful course for the rest of the day. Some ways to slow down and embrace the moment include:
- Have a morning stretch. Take a few minutes to wake up your body and mind with simple stretches, taking notice of how your muscles feel as they wake up.
- Bring awareness to your morning shower. Try focusing on the sounds, scents, and unique feelings of showering. When your mind wanders to plan-making or reflecting, gently redirect to the present moment.
- Take a breakfast break. When the time crunch happens, it’s tempting to skip or grab breakfast on the go. Instead, take a moment to sit with your breakfast, without looking at your phone or laptop, and just savor your first meal of the day.
Be present at work.
Being mindful at work really means bringing your full attention and awareness to whatever it is you’re doing. Here are some ways to stay focused and mindful while on the job:
- Practice active listening. Whether you’re in a meeting or having a one-to-one interaction, give the speaker your full attention. Be mindful of your biases and assumptions and strive to listen without judgment.
- Get grounded with airplane mode. Use airplane mode on your phone during meetings and work sessions. Plan for a short break at the end of the hour to catch up on emails and phone calls you may have missed.
- Take a lunch break. Leave the building if you can, or at least be sure to get up from your workstation. Reserve time to recharge with a short walk, even if it’s inside, to stretch your legs.
Unwind the mind.
Evenings might mean driving across town to a soccer game, working a second shift, visiting a loved one, or making dinner with the family. Wherever the night takes you, there are moments to stop and center your awareness on the here and now.
- Attentive driving. Whether it’s the evening commute or shuttling kids to activities, time in your car can be mindful. As you drive, pay attention to what you see, hear, and feel. As your mind wanders, notice the thoughts, but let them go and bring your mind back to driving.
- From chore to challenge. Turn doing the dishes into a mindfulness challenge. Wash one dish at a time, focusing on only that dish and all the details of the experience.
- Unplug. Choose a time to put your phone and other devices away and focus your energy or intention on a hobby or spending time with a friend or family member.
Take a breather.
Throughout your day, there are many opportunities to slow down and make time for breathwork. A simple and easy breathing exercise like belly breathing can be done anywhere. You can try it right now:
Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale and as your belly fills with air; you’ll notice it pushes your hand out. As your lungs expand to fill with air, your other hand will be pushed out. Hold your inhalation for a count of four and exhale.
Once you get some practice, you can take belly breaths without placing your hands on the stomach and chest, and you can sneak in a few cleansing and calming breaths anywhere. Whether you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, stuck in traffic, or finishing up a break at work—a few deep breaths can help bring you back into the present moment.
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