Life can seem busier every day, making it easy to rush through our busy days on autopilot. Practicing mindfulness allows you to pay attention in the present moment purposefully and without judgment. Instead of quick reactions or thoughtless choices, mindfulness brings intentionality and focus to decision-making. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to practicing mindfulness or if you feel like you don’t have time in your day to think about one more thing, here are five easy ways to incorporate mindful moments into your day.

  1. Mindful Breaks

Even on the busiest day, you can have a mindful break for a few moments. As responsibilities and stress pile up, our thoughts start racing as well. Mindful breaks bring our thoughts back to the present and quiet the chatter. Take a mindful break by practicing several rounds of a deep breathing exercise, like 4-7-8 breathing1, or a grounding exercise, such as 5-4-3-2-12. These quick exercises only take seconds to complete, but they help to slow down your breathing and heart rate while giving your mind a much-needed respite from compounding thoughts.

  1. Mindful Activities

Choose to add mindfulness to any activity you’re performing. Stop the autopilot tendencies by being more intentional with activities like eating, exercise, and everyday tasks. Eat mindfully by asking yourself what, how much, when, and where you’re eating before taking the first bite. Allow yourself to slow down while eating. Enjoy the process and listen to your body to notice fullness. Add mindfulness to your physical activity by being more intentional with your movement. Think about the purpose of your exercise session. Include a warm-up and a cool-down so your body can gradually adapt. Celebrate small victories and pay attention to soreness so you can adjust accordingly. Pay attention to your surroundings and notice how you feel before, during, and after working out. Use these same principles in your everyday tasks and responsibilities as well. As we pay more attention to the details, we can feel more accomplished, stay on track, and minimize unnecessary injuries.

  1. Mindful Reflection

Remembering to be mindful can be difficult, but purposefully adding moments of reflection to your day can help. As you arrive at work, finish a big meeting, grab a snack, clean up the dinner table, or climb into bed, ask yourself a few questions to reflect on your daily intentions and focus. Think about your plans and goals for the day and what you might need to accomplish them. Revisit moments that sparked enjoyment or satisfaction. Think about challenges that occurred, what you learned from them, and how you can apply that knowledge in the future. Reflection gives us space to celebrate victories in the present and acknowledge areas that might need a new approach to be more successful.

  1. Mindful Technology Use

While technology has plenty of benefits, nothing keeps our minds busy and distracted quite like it. Endless scrolling on phones, binge-watching a whole season of a television show, or chronically checking notifications takes over our focus. It’s hard to be intentional when technology is stealing our attention. Be mindful of your technology use by setting boundaries. Limit your time on social media, plan when and how long you will watch television, and turn on do not disturb settings for notifications. There are many ways to keep your technology use more mindful. It all comes down to planning how you utilize it and maintaining your boundaries with it each day.

  1. Mindful Awareness and Presence

Finally, add more mindful moments to your day by practicing being more aware and present. Add short pauses to your day to be purposefully aware of your surroundings, environment, and feelings. These pauses can stop us from trying to do or think about too many things at once. Be present when you’re talking with others. Choose to put your phone down and make eye contact during conversations. Being more aware can bring more attention to detail, avoid miscommunication, minimize careless mistakes, and lower the risk of unnecessary injuries. Consider using your five senses whenever you are practicing awareness and presence. In moments throughout the day, pause to notice what you can hear, see, feel, smell, or taste. This habit is a quick way to bring your thoughts back into the moment. It’s easy to get distracted, but the more you practice being present and aware, the more natural it will come.

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