Three Great Ways to Bring More Mindfulness into Your Day

American novelist Louis L'Amour once said: “Few of us ever live in the

present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what

has gone.” Obsession with the past and the future could be a sign of anxiety

and depression, the two most common mental health disorders worldwide.

Living in the moment by bringing more mindfulness into your day can help

prevent or alleviate anxiety and depressive symptoms.


So, what exactly is mindfulness? And how do I start being mindful and living in the moment?


Mindfulness is all about awareness and acceptance. To be mindful is to be

aware of one’s internal experiences such as your own thoughts and feelings

and readily accepting them without denial and judgment. By living in the

moment and focusing on the present, a lot of people who practice mindfulness find that they worried less about the future and ruminated less over the past.

They also become much more able to form deep connections with other

people.


Recent studies have shown how mindfulness is beneficial in many ways.

Mindfulness can be applied in psychotherapy by combining it with other

methods, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and it has been useful in the treatment of mental health conditions, including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, relationship conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Mindfulness techniques also improve one’s physical health because it can help relieve stress, treat cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep quality, and lessen gastrointestinal difficulties.

Below are three great ways to bring more mindfulness into your day:

1. Mindful breathing

A mindful breathing technique is all about focusing on how you breathe.

It may sound so easy but concentrating on something as simple as

breathing can actually take some discipline and practice, since your

mind will wander off constantly. You might take a few mindful breaths

when you suddenly just find yourself thinking about your work

assignments or what you’ll have for dinner.


But once you begin to accept that the mind is always going to stray from

your mindfulness practices, you’ll find mindful breathing easier to do,

says Rachael Kable, published author and host of The Mindful Kind

podcast. She recommends a few breathing techniques that you can

practice one at a time: you can start with observing your breath and

being curious about how breathing works, as if doing it for the first time.

Notice how you inhale and exhale, without changing its pattern. “Try to

notice each breath of air as it travels down your nose and throat, to your

chest and diaphragm. Follow the journey of your breath as it travels

back out again,” she says.


You can also do the hand-over-heart technique. Place one hand over

your chest and notice the movement that each breath makes. Focus on

the sensation of your chest rising and falling as you inhale and exhale. If

you like how it feels, try placing your other hand just above your

stomach to feel your breath moving in and out of your diaphragm.


2. Mindful meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are related, but they are not the same thing;

mindfulness is one of the various types of meditation. Mindful

meditation happens when you pay attention to your thoughts as they

come to your mind. You don’t try to avoid or judge them; you simply

observe and accept them as they come.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to meditate mindfully, according to

mindful.org: Start by sitting on a stable, solid seat. Observe your legs

and take note of what they’re doing. Straighten – but don’t stiffen - your

upper body. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Then

let your hands drop onto the tops of your legs. With your upper arms at

your sides, your hands will land in the right spot. Drop your chin a little

and let your eyes fall gently downward. You may close your eyes, but it’s

not necessary when meditating. Finally, just focus on the here and now.

Relax then go about your day.


3. Mindful eating

Since eating is something that we do every day, it would be easy to

incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. Mindful eating about using

mindfulness to understand your eating habits by paying attention to

how you eat. Mindful eating involves eating slowly and without

distraction. Turn off the TV or your phone and just focus on what you

eat. Make use of your senses by noticing the colors, smells, sounds,

textures, and flavors of the food you’re eating and appreciating it.


Mindful eating is also about making a distinction between actual,

physical hunger and psychological hunger, which makes it especially

useful to those who are prone to binge- or stress-eating. It will also help

you cope with guilt and anxiety about food, which is why mindfulness is

beneficial to those with eating disorders. Eating mindfully will help you

notice the effects that food has on your feelings and it will help you lose

weight and keep the weight off.