Mindfulness in our Everyday Lives
We are living in a world that I can imagine most of us never could have predicted we would see. Looking back on the end of 2019, we all probably thought 2020 was going to be “my year” or just an overall great year relative to what 2019 felt like. We are living in a world where what we had planned may have changed or been cancelled – I know I am personally writing a blog piece about something I was supposed to be presenting to you all in person at National Convention in Kansas City. While I wasn’t able to present this topic at National Convention, I am excited to share some tips and tricks for bringing mindfulness into your everyday life as it is definitely something we need in 2020.
Now, before we dive too deep into mindfulness tips and tricks, you may be wondering what exactly I mean by practicing mindfulness. If you Google the word “Mindfulness” you can find a variety of definitions ranging in complexity that may muddle what initial understanding you had of the concept. So instead of Googling, I recommend this brief TEDTalk video that I feel accurately describes mindfulness and gives a great initial example of how to begin practicing in your life.
So now that we have a base understanding of mindfulness, what are ways that we can bring this into our daily lives? Below is a starting list of ideas I have gathered over the last few years. This is by no means a comprehensive list so find what works for you and leave the rest!
When we think of yoga these days, we often think of it as an exercise regime to improve our flexibility, but really yoga is much more than that and can be a great tool for practicing mindfulness.
The word “yoga” translates to the English work “yoke” which means to join or link and is often in reference to the joining together of different physical poses. Various historical figures in the yoga world had other definitions for what yoga meant to them which really highlight that yoga is just as much for the mind as it is for the body.
I know for me personally; yoga has been my dedicated “me” time. No matter how much time I have available to me, those moments on the mat are where I could truly disconnect and dedicate my head space to one thing.
If you are currently looking for ways to practice yoga in your daily life there are likely local studios in your community that are offering virtual yoga classes, or you can often find larger yoga studios have an online yoga on demand platform.
Meditation, a topic and activity that many of us find daunting. The thought of spending an hour attempting to “clear our mind” can be quite stress-inducing for some. The great thing about meditation though is it is customizable to you and by no means needs to be an hour or even a half hour.
Meditation is a practice where you use a technique of focusing the mind on an object, thought, or activity with a goal of training your mind on attention and awareness to ultimately seek a calmness or clarity. The practice of meditation is exactly that, a practice; and over time, meditation can become easier.
There are great resources for meditation currently out there. In my daily life, I enjoy using the Calm app which has short guided meditations and even sleep stories to help you clear your mind when falling asleep. There are also plenty of free guided meditations you can find online.
Another way of bringing mindfulness into your life is applying quick short breathing techniques. These techniques can be done over as short of a period as a single minute and can help you clear your mind and reset. Two of the techniques I have used are Box Breathing and Nadi Shodhan pranayama breathing. Instead of describing each of these to you in detail, I have provided a URL links to Youtube videos which can walk you through each technique in detail.
While not a new phenomenon by any means, you can also practice mindfulness in your day by scheduling structured breaks throughout your day. This can be setting up a calendar invites for yourself for a 5 minute break every hour or whatever works for you. This more structured break setting allows you to focus more on the task you’re working on and then step away every so often to give your brain a needed break.
You can find plenty of research on the benefits of taking breaks in your day online if you want additional information on this simple addition to your day. This is also a great technique to add to your child’s day if you are planning on home schooling this next year, or if your child will be doing virtual learning.
The last bucket of mindfulness activities you can try incorporating into your life are more of a catch-all for other things I have heard people incorporate into their daily lives.
- Taking a morning/afternoon/evening walk – similar to a break in your day this can allow you step away from whatever you are doing and refocus on your surroundings.
- Writing in a journal – search the webs and you can find various “mindfulness journals”. A favorite of mine is the Five Minute Journal.
- Knitting – Knitting or other activities such as crocheting have a repetitive nature to them that research has shown results in similar benefits to the practice of yoga.
- Scheduled “Me” time – setting aside time in your schedule to just do whatever you need to relax and refocus.
Hopefully you can find a mindfulness activity that works for your lifestyle. Note that there are plenty of other things you can incorporate into your practice of mindfulness. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section with others.
Kiley Wuellner, EΦ