Rushing. Multitasking. Not listening to other people properly. Do you recognize any of these habits from your everyday life? If so, you could definitely try to incorporate some more mindful behavior into your daily routine. By practising mindfulness you can be more present, more aware, and more receptive to how you're feeling and the reality that surrounds you.
However, changing your behaviour or habits isn't always straightforward. Indeed, behavioral changes can be difficult. When you’ve spent years, sometimes decades, practising a certain behavior, it’s hard to wake up one day and decide to do something differently.
But if you can incorporate some of these practical mindful behaviors and tools into your daily routine, you could really feel the benefit, boosting happiness levels and helping to keep anxiety and depression at bay. If these are big changes for you, focus on one or two at a time until you feel comfortable with the transition.
Use these mindfulness behavioural tools at various points throughout the day. They are listed below roughly into how they might appear in your day-to-day routine. Incorporating these simple mindfulness tips into your day shouldn't require a great deal of extra time of effort: simply a different way of seeing things.
Take your time to simply be grateful for the day ahead. Showing gratitude is scientifically proven to benefit your mood. After opening your eyes, say hello to your body waking up and notice the different sensations you're feeling: be grateful that you can see, hear, smell and that your bodily parts work. Smile at the world before the rush of the day starts. Just spend a few minutes being and appreciating the gift of life.
Before you head out to start your day, open the window. Take a mindful, deep breath and check in with yourself. How are you today? What’s the weather inside of you like? Don't judge how you're feeling or try to reason with it: just sense and accept your mood at this moment in time. Don't try to change anything.
Mindful showering is a great morning mindfulness tool to set you up for the day. Really be there in the shower: feel the water on your skin, smell the shower gel aroma and scan your body for how it’s feeling. If your mind is already wandering, bring it back to the present moment by singing a song and smiling to yourself.
When it's time to get ready, instead of looking in the mirror and pointing out your flaws, take a moment to look at yourself the way a parent looks at their kid: with love and kindness. Give yourself a warm loving, accepting and supportive smile before you head out the door to start your day.
Try some mindful walking or forest bathing if you have the chance. Stop and smell the flowers, but first, you need to be there to even see them. Hear the birds, feel the many muscles in your body keeping you in balance with every step – marvel at life around you. Connecting with nature is important for our mental health, so if you get a chance to do this with a mindful walk, all the better.
We often feel rushed to reply when in conversations. However, really take the time to consider what you want to say before speaking. Take your time. Consult your body. Are there tensions, do you feel rushed or threatened, or safe and heard? Respond from your heart. Mindful speaking is a behavior particularly useful when it comes to mindfulness at work.
Listen. Just listen. Without thinking about your reply. Without planning when to jump in and retort. Make a choice to stay open and attentive and let the words you are hearing from someone else really touch you. Mindful listening can really help improve your communication skills.
This mindful behavioral habit helps you to get out of your mind and into your body fast. It's great if something is playing on your brain or you're struggling to focus during the day. Simply stop what you're doing and rub your hands together repeatedly. That's it. Focus on the warmth that's generated. Do it a few times, take a few deep breaths, then head back to your task.
At least for the first few bites – and preferably the whole meal – really take your time when eating your meals or snacks. See the colours and texture of your food. Taste it, smell it, and feel the consistency and temperature. Every bite is unique! Do not rush your food. Slow eating is also better for your digestion.
So often we try to fill our days with as much as possible, but we need to take time out during the day too. Take in the signals from your body. Pause to listen to your thoughts, emotions and body sensations. Accept them as they are here and now and then focus on your breath before you go back to whatever you were doing.
Be mindful of how you treat yourself. Be honest with yourself but do not be harsh. Acceptance precedes change. Honestly acknowledge what is, and start with a gentle step. Do not beat yourself up but gently motivate yourself, especially after a drawback. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a dear friend.
Rest in deep gratitude for the power of friendships. On the way to meeting a friend, bring to mind the good times you had and what you appreciate about that person. During your time together, rest in openness and gratitude for your friendship and celebrate what a wonderful thing it is.
Here’s a mindful behavior to relax you, great if you can’t sleep. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, deep into your abdomen. Hold for four more seconds, then breathe out for four more through your mouth. Pause for four more, then repeat! This mindful breathing isn't just for bedtime, though. Use throughout the day, whenever you're feeling anxious or in need of some calm. ●
Incorporating mindful behavior and habits into your day-to-day life can only bring great benefits to you and those around you. By using these practical tools you will start to be more present and aware, as well as open and receptive to how you're actually feeling and the world around you.
Main image: shutterstock/fizkes
Which of these mindful behavioral tools helped you most? Do you have any others to add to the list? Join our conversations around mindfulness and meditation in our forum. If you’re interested in learning more deeply about mindfulness, sign up for our free MBSR course.
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