Practicing Daily Mindfulness

When was the last time you sat down and smelled the roses? I know, I know. It sounds dumb, but I’m curious. When was the last time you sat back and just sort of enjoyed your surroundings? 

We’ve all been locked inside for the last year, and we have tried to fill every second with entertainment and distractions. How many shows and movies have you watched since quarantine started? 

Being mindful sounds like something you would read on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, but we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that we forget to take a breath and relax. Most of us tend to live in the past or in the future. Rehashing what has happened or what will happen can take a toll on you after a while. It’s good to have goals that you are working towards, and it’s never a bad thing to learn from your mistakes, but you need to remember to be present.

Wake up with purpose 

Most mornings, I roll out of bed and just sort of rush to start my day. It’s been like that my whole life. I lived 5 minutes away from my high school, so I would wake up 10 minutes before class would start, rush to get ready and ride my bike just in time before the bell rang. 

I hate sitting around when I have somewhere to be. I get antsy. I go into this sort of “waiting mode” where I can’t do anything other than get ready and wait for the time to leave; otherwise, I think I might forget about what I have to do or get distracted. Honestly, I don’t know. But for the last week, I have been waking up with purpose and intention.

Listen to your body 

Instead of rushing to shower and get my day started, I’ve been waking up and listening to my body first thing. Am I hungry? How are my knees feeling today? (I have the worst knees for a 24-year-old.) Am I well-rested? Is there any tension in my body? Just taking that minute or two to figure out how I am feeling physically at the start of my day has helped me start them better. 

Breathe

I think this is what most people think of when they hear about being mindful. Breathing exercises go hand in hand with listening to your body, but taking a few deep breaths to start your day helps tremendously.  

Remember your purpose

What is your intention for the day? There are so many days that go by for me. I sort of just exist without really doing anything. I wake up, do work, walk my dog, and play video games, and while there is nothing wrong with any of that, there is never any intention in those nothing days. So I’ve started to ask myself three questions throughout my day. 

  1. How will I take better care of myself?
  2. How might I show better compassion? 
  3. How can I feel more fulfilled? 

Figuring out the answers to these questions throughout my day has made my days seem more filled with intention instead of just letting my days go by me. 

Check-in

Starting your day one way and ending it the same can be tricky at best. All it takes is one annoying phone call or rude a-hole to ruin your mood for the day. So don’t forget to take a few moments in your day to check in with yourself. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself what your intention for the day is. 

To Sum it Up

Being mindful is like cleaning up your kitchen or going to the gym. We think we don’t want to do it because it’s so hard, but once we do it, we are grateful we did. This last week I’ve been trying to be more conscious of being mindful, and it has made a huge difference in how I feel throughout the day. My mood and attitude are in better spirits, and the last year it’s been a nice reminder of what normal used to feel like. So I’ll leave you with a challenge. Just try it for seven days and see if it makes a difference for you. 

The challenge:

Wake up with intention in the morning. Start your day by listening to your body and taking a few deep breaths. And then, on your lunch break, if you can, go outside and enjoy the spring sunlight and remind yourself about your intention for the day. Don’t let someone else ruin your day over something dumb they said or did. 

And if you want to read more on mindfulness, read our blog on disconnecting from the internet here.

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