Mindfulness is described as being the state of being aware or a state that keeps you in the present moment – instead of dwelling on the past, or worrying about future events that you have no control over.
As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is difficult for me but also a necessary part of healing and moving forward in life. In addition to incorporating daily spiritual practices, I thought I would share some ideas and tips on how you can practice mindfulness in your daily life.
These are things you can do from anywhere – even if you’re on the road or traveling. It won’t cost you anything and you only need minimal supplies.
My spiritual workings involve a lot of meditation, journaling and doing a lot of these things already – so, don’t be surprised if some of my advice is overlapping in some areas.
Start your day with intent
Something I’ve always done as an anxious person, is wake up in the morning and run through a list of things that I need to get done for the day. I keep calendars and sticky notes with reminders of important tasks or appointments that I can’t miss. I run through plans multiple times in my head to make sure that I won’t be late or miss anything I need to do.
Now that I’m not working, my to do list is a lot shorter. So, it’s important for me to find things to do during the day that fill up the time and give me a sense of purpose (as health and symptoms allow for). Some days, all I can do is sleep if I have a migraine or in a lot of pain. On those good days, like today – I feel motivated and try to be productive where I can.
- Take some time after you wake up, or during your morning routine to think about what you want to accomplish that day. Whether it’s finding time for yourself to meditate. Or get that workout in. Or go for a walk. Visit with a friend. Whatever it may be – set an intention for you that brings you joy. Even if it’s something like buying a coffee and drinking it while listening to music.
- Check in with yourself during the day. Make adjustments if necessary to fit it in with your schedule. Remind yourself why this is important to you and why it is needed. The more you do this, the easier it will become a habit for you.
- Rinse and repeat – every day, until this becomes second nature to you. Soon, you won’t even need a journal or to write things down. You’ll train yourself to be able to just follow through. The important thing is not to give up on those down days when you’re feeling low. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And don’t set unrealistic intentions. Start small and work your way up.
Mindful Eating and Exercise
Too often, I find myself eating meals at my computer while watching my favorite YouTube channels or binge watching shows in the evening. Sometimes, I eat so fast, that I feel hungry within an hour or two, and then crave junk food which always makes me feel worse.
One thing that can help with weight loss and improving eating habits in general, is to be more mindful of how you eat – now just what you eat.
- Take a few deep breaths before eating. Calm your mind. This works better if you eat meals alone or on your breaks. Eat slower, chew slowly. Enjoy every bite you take.
- Eat the foods you love – don’t force yourself to eat foods you’re not a fan of. Eating should be pleasurable. If weight loss is your goal. do research into healthy meals – there are lots of foods out there that can help you meet your goals, you just have to put a little time and effort into them.
- Listen to your body. Pay attention to how hungry you are. If your stomach is getting full, don’t force yourself to eat all the food in front of you. Package some of it up for later. Or eat smaller meals throughout the day. This will depend greatly on any medical conditions you have or special diet requirements. Eat to sustain your energy, not because you are bored or feeling sad.
- Look at your relationship with food – do you have healthy eating habits? Do you often forget to eat or skip meals? Do you eat out of boredom or to help with grief or strong feelings? Once you recognize your eating patterns, you can work on your relationship with food. You may need to recruit a professional therapist or counsellor if you really struggle with it.
- Move a little every day – You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership or build a full gym at home to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Start small. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk on your break. Go to the mall and walk the halls in winter months. You can do things like yoga or pilates at home. As long as you move at least 15-20 minutes daily, you’ll notice a shift in how you feel overall.
Meditation to strengthen your focus
As someone with undiagnosed ADD, I struggle a lot with focusing on specific intentions or tasks. I easily get distracted or become disinterested in things the moment I get started on. Even with this article, I started on it five hours ago – and have worked out, cooked dinner and completed other tasks that I could have waited on.
Meditation can really help strengthen your focus. This can be done by focusing on your breathing, listening to music, or doing something physical like yoga. For me, music is my meditation. Or I have to force myself to lie down and try and clear out thoughts that are running a mile a minute in my busy and anxious brain.
Here are some types of meditations you can do, to help “slow your roll” and that may help to strengthen your focus.
- Deep breathing exercises
- Body scan meditation (lay down, relax, focus on breathing)
- Sitting meditation (with intent)
- Walking meditation (connect with nature)
- Music meditations – binaural beats, alpha, or theta (I’ll write another article on this)
Bullet journaling or practicing or writing
This is something that is new to me and I have a private journal I write in often, especially on those low days where I want to keep thoughts to myself. On good days, I’ll write a post here or share with my friends.
Using a daily bullet style journal is a very useful tool for practicing the art of mindfulness. It’s about self-exploration, writing down thoughts that come to you or questions that might come up. You can jot down your feelings about certain events or situations. Or you can create lists of intentions and things you want to accomplish.
You can do this the old fashioned way, on pen and paper. Or you can download journals from sites like Etsy and use on your tablets. Journaling has come a long way and you can tailor something to help meet your bulleting needs.
I try and write a little every day. Whether in this blog, my private journals, or working on my short stories and books. This is a hobby for me, and helps me relax.
Why is mindfulness is important?
If you’re a person like me that struggles with anxiety, adding these practices to my daily life can not only give me something positive to focus on, but also can greatly reduce the number of panic attacks or anxiety attacks I might have in a given day.
Living with chronic pain and a disability can be difficult to manage – especially on those days where it seems like just getting out of a bed can be a chore. I felt a lot of guilt for not being able to work, and now, I’m accepting this is life now. And I’m making the most of the time I have here. This blog is a hobby for me and I’m writing about issues that bring me joy.
Mindfulness can help manage illnesses like generalized anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that you might struggle with. If you live with daily pain like I do, it might even help boost your serotonin (the happy hormone) or dopamine, and give you energy needed to get your daily tasks done.
You may even find over time, that your relationships become easier to manage as you learn new coping techniques for stressful events. You learn what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth letting go of – even if it hurts.
Learning to work with things you can control, and letting go of what you cannot control, is honestly a game changer when it comes to mindfulness. Knowing that you’re doing the best you can, in extraordinary circumstances, focusing on what you can do, while letting the universe take the wheel for the rest.
What are some ways that you incorporate mindfulness into your busy routine?
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