Wondering how can you practice mindfulness exercises daily? Looking for examples of mindfulness in everyday life?
What is mindfulness? The folks at the University of California, Berkeley, define it as a moment-by-moment awareness of your feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment through a nurturing lens. Why does it matter?
This ancient practice has multiple applications in modern life. For one, it helps you see situations clearly and objectively by examining the factors influencing your thoughts and behaviors.
The American Psychological Association found that mindfulness can improve both your mental and physical health. Furthermore, many mental health professionals now recommend mindfulness practice for treating anxiety and depression.
How can you incorporate these gentle healing practices into your daily existence and reap the benefits? Here are 15 examples of mindfulness in everyday life. Read on to find simple ways to add being more mindful to your daily routine!
What Are the 5 Basics of Mindfulness Practice?
While the origins stem from ancient Buddhist practices and philosophy, there’s no need to convert religions to participate. You can cultivate the five basics of mindfulness practice below, regardless of your faith. Understanding them is crucial to implementing mindfulness in everyday life.
The first step in any mindfulness exercise is to set an intention for your practice. Examples include easing anxiety, regulating challenging emotions, gaining insight into a troubling issue or the self, or cultivating gratitude, loving-kindness, or serenity.
#2. Cultivating Awareness
This stage focuses on the here and now. It involves your perceptions through the five primary senses, proprioception (awareness of how your body moves through space), interception (awareness of physical sensations from within), and psychological influences from your past experiences.
The self-regulation facet of mindfulness refers to consciously responding to internal and external stimuli instead of impulsively reacting to them. Psychologists also refer to this concept as emotional regulation in their clinical practices.
#4. Directing Attention
During this stage, you actively focus on the factors you can control that serve you and others. For example, you might mindfully meditate before a job interview. During this time, you visualize things going well, directing your attention to the potential positives instead of what could go wrong.
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Finally, loving-kindness reminds you to remain gentle and non-judgmental throughout your practice. You may use mindfulness meditation to gain insight into your triggers and the resulting behaviors.
Instead of condemning yourself for how you acted in the past — something you cannot change — loving-kindness reminds you to reflect on how you prefer to respond in the future.
Mindfulness Is Not Religion
Practicing the above steps requires no religious affiliation. However, those who engage in regular meditative practices find each stage gives them more profound insights into the five mindfulness training stemming from the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path to encourage global spirituality and world healing. They are:
- True happiness
- Loving speech and deep listening
- Nourishment and healing
- Reverence for life
- True love
Awareness of how you respond to stimuli helps you recognize your similarity to others who may likewise manifest maladaptive behaviors, seeing them not as evil but as products of their environment and experiences. It lends insight into how you manage energies like anger and how the consequences of expressing this emotion through violence can breed further suffering.
Please remember, you need not intend to practice loving-kindness toward humanity or reflect on the meaning of life. Perhaps you want to learn more about mindfulness because your therapist recommended it as part of your treatment protocol. However, although you might not come to meditation practice seeking spiritual enlightenment, you may find it anyway.
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Types of Mindfulness
“That sounds lovely,” you might be thinking, “but what specific practices help me incorporate mindfulness into my daily life?” Throughout the ages, gurus and self-help aficionados have harnessed the mind-body link in various formalized ways to help you attain insight and healing.
You might try the following techniques before finding the type of meditation that suits you best or vary your practice depending on the day and your needs and moods.
- Sitting (or lying) meditation: In this practice, you rest in a comfortable seated or lying position. Many practitioners prefer remaining upright to avoid falling asleep. However, people with chronic back pain may like Mother Earth’s support. A zafu or meditation cushion is a helpful bolster for some folks.
- Walking meditation: This format may work best for people with anxiety or restless energy. Instead of sitting still, you stroll, paying attention to your surroundings and physical sensations as you do so. It helps to immerse yourself in a beautiful natural setting or a labyrinth if you have these amenities nearby.
- Yoga: Yoga is the ultimate mind-body meditation. You unite your breath and physical movements, using them as tools to remain centered in the present moment. Fortunately, there’s a style for everyone, from athletic Ashtanga to gentle yin.
- Qigong: This practice is similar to tai chi. However, the latter focuses more on the physical aspect, whereas qigong meditation focuses on mental concentration. Movements are slow and relaxing, much like a graceful dance — but the emphasis is on breath and mindfully exploring how you move through space.
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- MBSR: Jon Kabat-Zinn pioneered mindfulness-based stress reduction back in 1979. It focuses on remaining fully in the present, breaking ties with rumination over an immutable past and anxieties about an unknown future.
- CBT: Scores of therapists now employ mindfulness techniques as part of cognitive-behavioral therapy. For example, exercises like stop-breathe-respond and HALT draw from this practice, interrupting your learned — and often maladaptive — reactions and becoming aware of factors like a hunger that influence your mental state.
Fortunately, the internet provides free resources to help you if you’re curious. Several social media outlets such as youtube have been a glorious resource for free yoga and qigong classes. The Plum Village channel has countless lessons and guided meditations you can tune into as you sit on your zafu or go for a mindful walk.
However, a formal routine isn’t the only way to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life. You can reap similar benefits through routine activities.
What are 3 Activities that Promote Being Mindful? 3 Mindfulness Techniques You Can Practice
Are you looking for three activities that help you incorporate mindfulness practices into everyday life? Here are three mindfulness techniques you can practice without joining a yoga studio or tuning into a streaming service.
#1. Mindful Eating
Are you someone who goes on diet after diet to no avail? Perhaps you lose a few pounds only to regain them once you quit the latest fad meal plan. Do you want to redefine your relationship with food?
If so, turn to mindful eating. These practices can help you recognize your body’s hunger and full cues — something you may ignore if you tend to graze mindlessly.
How do you practice mindful eating? Try these five simple exercises:
- Don’t multitask: Instead of noshing at your work desk, take a proper lunch break to focus on eating and nothing else.
- Pay attention: Ask yourself questions like, “What flavors can I identify in this meal?” and “How does it benefit me nutritionally?”
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- Identify maladaptive food habits: For example, you might be a clean plate club member, especially if you grew up with food insecurity. However, does this behavior serve you today? Probably not if your goal is to shed a few pounds.
- Chew your food well: Take a few cues from the French, who insist upon long, leisurely meals. Savor each flavor, putting your fork down between bites to enjoy a bit of camaraderie with your fellow diners.
- Examine your feelings: How do you feel when sitting at the table? When do you start to feel full? Are you grabbing dessert after to assuage lingering hunger or because you deserve a sweet treat?
Writing is a fabulous way to incorporate more mindfulness in everyday life and you don’t have to be Stephen King to do it. You might do little more than keep a running list of all the things you feel thankful for — a gratitude journal can serve as a valuable reminder of your many blessings on rough days.
Journaling can also help you identify and work through challenging feelings. For example, rage makes you see red after a colleague takes credit for a project you completed. You might pour your vitriol onto pages intended only for your eyes, dispelling those negative emotions. Once you think more clearly, you can shred what you wrote and move forward with grace, whether setting the record straight or letting it go.
#3. Working in the Garden
Gardening reminds you of the life cycle. It shows how things grow and change while nourishing your body and beauty to soothe your mind.
Your garden can become a lovely backdrop for a deeper meditative practice. Touches like a fountain or seating area can help induce the right introspective mindset. However, the mere act of digging in the soil while contemplating the natural world is mindful in itself.
15 Examples of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Do you want to dive deeply into your practice, becoming Zen-like in your ability to enter a contemplative state anytime and anywhere? Here are 15 examples of mindfulness in everyday life that can further grow your practice.
#1. Waiting in Line
Most people see long grocery store checkout lines as a reason to sigh, even complain. Instead, why not use it as a chance to breathe and focus your awareness on the present? You might start with a simple mantra, such as “Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out.”
Feel your blood pressure and muscular tension ease as you elongate your inhales and exhales. Invite the spirit of curiosity and playfulness to take over that of frustration, perhaps noting what you can tell about others from their basket contents or smiling at the antics of small children drooling over the candy display.
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#2. Planting a Seed
The next time you cook a vegetable like a pepper, tomato or cucumber — something with easy-to-preserve seeds — save them when you chop instead of placing them in the trash. Let them dry so that you can sprout them into seedlings later.
While you do, perform a brief gratitude meditation as you give thanks for the nourishment provided. Marvel at the life cycle and how nature ensures her creations continue.
#3. Cooking Dinner
The kitchen is the perfect place for mindfulness. Observe the colors change in dishes as you blend various ingredients and contemplate the nutritional benefits of each item. How does it support and nurture your health? Examine your emotions about eating different dishes. How can you mindfully practice moderation?
#4. Getting Dressed in the Morning
Ask yourself — why do you choose the garments you select? Do they keep you warm in winter? Present an image you want to portray to others. This is a great way of practicing mindfulness in the morning.
#5. Noticing Your Breath
There’s an app for everything these days, including mindfulness practice in everyday life. Use a timer app to remind you to pause and notice your breathing exercises for a minute or two each hour. It’s a necessary time-out from daily chatter and you’ll be able to drop the alarm in time as your practice becomes a habit.
#6. Exploring Your Irritation
Take a tip from CBT and stop the next time you feel ready to utter words out of frustration or irritation. Pay attention and ask yourself, “Why do I experience these negative thoughts and feelings when they cause me suffering?”
Perhaps you aren’t angry at your colleague, but skipping lunch left you hangry. On the other hand, your exasperation might stem from them pushing their work on you, in which case, it’s time to set better boundaries.
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#7. Fueling Your Car
Try a progressive muscle relaxation exercise the next time you stand at the pump. Start by curling your toes and working through your lower body, squeezing each muscle group with an inhale and relaxing as you exhale. Proceed through your upper body, tightening your back and exhaling and raising your shoulders toward your ears, then relaxing them.
#8. Helping a Stranger
Mindfulness reminds you that the one thing you can control is your energy and how you direct it. It also invites you to practice loving-kindness.
Embrace this spirit by helping a stranger, even with something small, like holding the door or doing something kind. Think about the last time someone similarly brightened your mood and how it affected your attitude. How might your loving-kindness create a ripple effect that touches others you may never see?
#9. Sending an Email
Loving speech and deep listening help you connect with others. When sending an email, think about how you frame your words with the message you want to convey. What emotions are the readers likely to feel? What questions might they have and how can you address them?
#10. Answering Your Child
The 20th “Are we there yet?” has driven many a parent crazy. Instead, get mindful when responding to your child. What emotions lie behind their words and how can you soothe them? Reflect on when you felt similarly when you were young. How would you have wanted your caregivers to respond? Use your answer as your guide.
#11. Playing With Your Pet
Pets bring meaning and joy to life but seldom get the appreciation they deserve. The next time you pet your doggy or kitty, contemplate how humans came to befriend other living beings. Marvel at the nature of love — what a wonder it extends across species.
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#12. Cleaning Your House
Many people look at cleaning their houses as a reason to grumble. Instead, transform it into a gratitude meditation. As you dust each item, give thanks as you reflect on the happiness it brings.
In the words of Marie Kondo, if it doesn’t spark joy, consider donating it to make space for something that does and let it go with a generous heart to give pleasure to someone else. What a great way to declutter your home and practice mindfulness.
#13. Finishing a Work or School Project
Many people today feel detached from their work, seeing it as little more than a means to an end or a necessary evil to slog through to support their basic needs. Instead, reflect on how your actions benefit society.
Does that budget report contain accurate information that helps your company meet its financial goals, resulting in better pay and benefits for you and your colleagues? Will your research help someone re-examine their mindset or ideas?
#14. Spending Time in Nature
Even in the city, you can find a tree or a bird to gaze at for a brief meditation. You can use it as a focal point. Study each leaf and feather in detail to help you cultivate awareness. Each time you catch your brain wandering, gently guide it back to the subject. Who knew mindfulness activities could be found anywhere?
#15. Lying Down for Sleep
Many Buddhists spend the last few minutes before sleep contemplating the day’s events. Adopting this ritual may help you ease insomnia and enjoy better-quality rest.
Begin by generating a spirit of metta — or loving-kindness — in your heart’s energy center. It might help to draw to mind someone you love dearly, with whom you currently feel no conflict. Once you feel this war.
Incorporating Mindfulness in Everyday Life
There are multiple benefits to incorporating mindfulness-based stress reduction in everyday life. These practices can help you regulate your emotions, modify your behavior and improve your mental health.
They may also strengthen your spiritual understanding and sense of interconnectedness with other living beings.
Free Printable Mindfulness Mantras
Need help implementing these examples of mindfulness in everyday life? Get your 20 FREE Printable Mindfulness Mantra cards.
You now have plenty of mindfulness tools in your chest. Use them to find inner peace and serenity and extend a feeling of loving-kindness toward yourself and the rest of humanity.Looking for activities that promote being mindful? Ready to try mindfulness? Here are 15 examples of mindfulness in everyday life you can try today by @revivalist_mag. #Mindfulness #InnerPeace #Mindful
Do you have any more examples of mindfulness in everyday life?
More About Guest Contributor
Cora Gold has a passion for living life to the fullest and exploring her experiences through her writing. She’s the Editor-in-Chief for women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist.com.
Last Updated on May 28, 2023
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