Looking to boost your mindfulness? You don’t need to head to a meditation retreat or overhaul your lifestyle. Instead, there are plenty of simple and mindful activities you may add to your everyday routine. These changes may seem small but they could have a major impact on your mental wellness. Here are seven options to give a whirl.
1. EAT SLOWLY (AND SAVOUR YOUR FOOD)
How do you usually eat your meals? Chances are, if you’re a busy person, you might grab some food-to-go. Perhaps you eat your lunch while answering your emails or checking social media. You may guzzle down dinner while watching your favourite TV show. If these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to stop and rethink your eating habits.
Slowing down when eating will help boost your mindfulness. Once you have prepared a meal, find a quiet and calm place where you can eat. Chew your food slowly and take the time to savour each and every bite. Getting into this habit means that you have a relaxed period a few times a day in which you can think, reflect, and even unwind.
2. CREATE A GRATITUDE LIST
What are you grateful for today? You may never take the time to consider all of the gifts you already have. For example, you may be grateful for your family, your work, the people around you, your health, or simply a gorgeous sunset. Whatever it is that brings you joy, making a list of it can help you focus on that feeling and cement it in your mind.
Showing gratitude is one of the key ingredients to leading a good life, according to researchers from George Mason University. The experts suggested that becoming more grateful (or in fact taking the time to notice what you’re grateful for) increases a person’s happiness. With that in mind, when you’re considering the best mindful activities you can engage in each day, don’t overlook this simple yet effective task.
3. MINDFUL MOVEMENT
Ready to get active? If you’re a fitness lover, you will be interested to learn about the more energetic mindful activities out there. Mindful movement allows you to stay present in the moment while noticing the world around you. Luckily, there are plenty of mindful exercises you can do, such as Tai Chi, Qigong and certain types of yoga. You may want to give each of the above a go and figure out which of them suits your lifestyle.
Engaging in mindful movement has the power to lower your stress levels and anxiety, according to research from Penn State University. The researchers found that participants tended to feel less stressed when they were moving or on their feet. However, interestingly enough, this benefit was amplified when the participants were actively mindful too.
4. TAKE A BREAK FROM YOUR PHONE
Spoiler: You may be more dependent on technology than you realise. Brits check their smartphones every 12 minutes, according to a report from Ofcom. Whether you’re scrolling through Twitter, reading the news, or simply sending a text message, that constant feed of information can be overwhelming. So, why not disconnect for a moment?
Limiting your screen time is one of the best mindful activities you can try. To get started, you may want to use an app to help you along the way. Examples include ScreenTime, Our Pact, and Freedom. Of course, you could also go old school and just put your phone away for short periods. For instance, you could leave your phone in a drawer for an hour.
5. LISTEN TO A PODCAST
Struggling to take a mindful break? If you find it hard to switch off, listening to a podcast could be the answer. Whether you’re ready to dip your toes into the realms of guided meditation or want to listen to relaxing sounds, there’s certain to be a podcast with your name on it. Tune into a mindfulness podcast the next time you need to quickly unwind.
6. HEAD OUT FOR A WALK
When was the last time you headed out for a walk? If you’re looking for a quick mindful activity that packs a real punch, this next one's for you. Research from the Frontiers Journal suggests that taking a 20-minute walk in nature can instantly lower your stress hormone levels. Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, you can give this a go.
Planning a route near you doesn’t need to be difficult. You can use the plotaroute.com website to find a nearby walk that suits you. If you’re lucky enough to live near natural beauty spots, you may want to visit them and have a moment of peace. As you are out walking, take the time to notice the nature around you and be present.
7. TAKE A QUICK NAP
Fancy a quick nap? While you may think that you’ve outgrown this habit, research suggests that it could offer a wealth of benefits to adults. For example, taking an afternoon nap has been linked to better mental agility and improved memory. What’s more, if you’ve had a restless night, another study found that napping could reverse the effect of poor sleep. The next time you feel sleepy, why not treat yourself to a quick rest?
Including more mindfulness into your daily routine doesn’t have to take much effort at all. Why not set aside a matter of minutes to engage in some of these mindful activities? Start small and see the impact that it has on your mental and emotional well-being.