5 Easy Practices for a More Mindful Day
Do you find yourself always rushing from one task to another, with barely a time to think about the day and plan how you want things to go? You’re in a rush from the moment you get out of bed until you get out the door. Because of that, you quickly get irritated by anything or anyone, even from just the littlest of conflicts.
Your days don’t always have to play out that way. Slow down and take a breather once in a while with these daily mindfulness practices.
1) Wake up mindfully
Before reaching for your phone to check your emails and social media pages, here’s what you should do:
- Don’t get up, sit up. Either in bed or on a chair. Sit in an upright but relaxed position, close your eyes and connect with your body.
- Breathe. Take three deep, long breathes through your nose, and out through your mouth. Notice how your chest and belly rises and falls with each inhale and exhale.
- “What do I want to achieve today?” Ask yourself questions like, What can I do to feel more accomplished? How do I take care of myself better? How do I show more kindness and compassion to others and myself at all times?
- Set your intention. Set one or more plans for yourself, with what you feel is essential. It can be something like, “Today, I will practice more patience with myself and others.”
- Reconnect with yourself. As the day goes on, remember to keep checking in with yourself. Think about the intention you set in the morning, and how your interaction with others have progressed as you apply your plan.
2) Eat mindfully
Eating is not just for sustenance anymore. Here are some ways you can practice mindful eating:
- 1. Breathe. Pause, and allow yourself to transition to your meal. Take at least eight deep, long breaths before the start of your meal and bring your attention towards yourself and your body.
- 2. Listen. Listen to your body. What is your belly telling you? Without thinking of when your last meal was, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being that you don’t feel the least bit hungry and ten being that you think that your belly is empty and that you’re starving.
- 3. Eat accordingly. Now that you’ve rated your hunger level, you can mindfully decide what, when, where, and how much to eat accordingly.
- 4. Eat peacefully. Slow down and savour what you’re eating. Continue with your deep breathing and relax. Indigestion and other problems tend to occur when you don’t eat well and when stress.
- 5. Eat what you love. With your first few bites, chew carefully and thoroughly taste what you’re eating. How are the flavours? Textures? Are you enjoying your food? These are some ways you can be mindful about what you’re eating when you’re eating.
3) Pause mindfully
When we get so caught up in our tasks, our brains immediately go on autopilot. Slow down, put the obstructions away, and regain control of your mind. It sounds easy, but it requires a lot more strength and willpower from you than you think. Here are some tips on how to get you started:
- If you can see it, you can’t miss it. If you plan to do some exercises or meditations like yoga, put your exercise tools or yoga mat in the centre of the room where you can always see it.
- Remind yourself. Be it with sticky notes or phone alerts, refresh your reminders. Rewrite them in a new, exciting way regularly so that they stick with you longer. If you leave them be, you might forget about them.
- Create unique patterns. Try some catchy phrases to remind yourself to take mindful pauses throughout the day. Follow an action with “breathe”. For example, “Opening up emails, breathe.”, or, “Walking to the meeting room, breathe.” Each time you do this, you remind yourself to incorporate mindful pauses and breaks throughout the day.
4) Workout mindfully
Working out shouldn’t just be about gaining muscles or losing weight. When you work out, you should still remember to be mindful. Have some harmony with your exercise, body, and mind.
- Have clear aims. For example, if you are going for a run, imagine how you want it to turn out as you lace up your shoes. Before you step on the trail, think to yourself, “I will notice how the ground feels underneath my feet, the sounds of the gravel crunching with each step I take, the wind on my face, in my hair, as I move forward.”
- Always start with a warm-up. A warm-up can take about five to ten minutes. Move your body, do some simple stretches and feel your muscles get loose with each time. Move steadily as you stabilise your heart rate and match your movements to your breathing.
- Align your movements. As you get deeper in your workout, you’ll find yourself picking up your pace and getting faster. Don’t let that stop you from synchronising your movements to your breathing, though. If you find this hard, focus on your breathing for a while, and you’ll notice yourself settling into your movements soon enough.
- Test yourself. Go faster, lift heavier, jump higher. Push yourself to do better, and you’ll find yourself feeling more invigorated
- Always end with a cool down. For the last five to 10 minutes of your workout, remember to cool down. Gradually slow your pace down until you come to a stop. Take note of how your body feels as you do less.
- Rest. Afterwards, rest for another five to 10 minutes. Stand or sit still and silently make mental notes of how your body feels now that you’re done with your workout. Your initial feeling may be of tiredness, but after a while, you’ll realise that you feel much more rejuvenated and recharged.
5) Drive mindfully
Everyone experiences a little road rage now and then, especially when dealing with them “kiasu” drivers in Singapore. Channel that rage into some mindful breathing instead.
- Breathe. Yes, we’re telling you to breathe again. Long, deep breaths can help you remain some calm in stressful situations, allowing you to make more mindful choices
- “What do I need?” Do you need to feel happy, safe, or comfortable? Some stresses arise from the need to feel something else instead, and figuring that out earlier can help bring more stability with your emotions.
- Award yourself with your needs. If you’re uncomfortable, find ways to make yourself more comfortable. Adjust your posture, your seat, or anything that can bring you more comfort. If it makes you feel even better, give yourself some words of affirmation.
- Look around. Look around at everyone on the road with you. Just like you, they want to feel safe, comfortable, and happy. You’ll find some of them frowning behind the wheel, and some rocking out to whatever’s playing on their radio. Know that, at that moment, everyone is just like you.
- Lastly, breathe. The last advice is just like the first. Take a few long, deep breaths. Doing so may make you feel a lot better in only a few seconds. Before you know it, you’ll reach your destination.