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Daily Mindful Habits

Bringing more mindfulness into your daily life in small ways can have many benefits.  Some benefits include feeling less anxious and more joyful, experiencing more connection with friends and family, and being more comfortable with strong emotions.  Even on the busiest days you can bring mindfulness into your life with small changes. 

One of the easiest way is to focus on your breath more frequently throughout the day.  As we go through our days it is very common to either use shallow breaths or to actually hold our breath for periods of time. When we do this we don’t get enough oxygen in our blood stream, our heart starts to beat faster to increase the oxygen in the blood, and then our whole nervous system gets the message that we aren’t safe.  To avoid this set up a cue to remind you throughout the day to breathe.  The cue might be every time you stand up or sit down, or it might be every time you walk through a door way.  It could even be every time you answer the phone.

Another strategy to increase mindfulness is to stay fully present while doing mundane chores or tasks.  For instance, when you drive to work instead of thinking about the hectic start to your day or what is ahead of you at work, pay attention to your immediate environment.  Notice the sky and the formation of the clouds.  Look at the trees and other landscape features as you pass them.  Stay fully alert to the road and the way cars are moving around you. 

On a particularly busy day you can find a moment of peace and ease with a one minute break.  Close your eyes and focus on the sensation of slowly breathing in and slowing breathing out.  Pay attention to where you feel the breath in your body as it comes in and goes out.  Slowly count 10 breaths.  At the end of the 10 breaths move your lips into a gentle smile.  Then slowly open your eyes.  You are sure to feel refreshed and more cheerful.

Try all three of these practices and see which works best for you.  Then try to practice it every day.  You will discover that after doing this for a few weeks you will be doing the practice regularly without hardly thinking about it.  You will also find that you feel more calm and a bit more cheerful.