By now you’ve likely heard about mindfulness and its benefits. But when you crash onto the couch after yet another exhausting day, you might be wondering where you’re supposed to find the time or energy to practice mindfulness.
The good news is that mindfulness does not have to entail making drastic changes in your life. Instead, the focus is much more on making small, intentional adjustments in your mindset and behaviour.
Check out Han Ee & Ming Hui debunking the myth of mindfulness, i.e. “no time.
Adding mindful moments to your day
Here are five examples of small things that you can do to incorporate mindfulness in your daily life, without having to carve out extra hours in your already busy week.
- Make your bed every morning before work. It seems like such a trivial thing: since you’ll be crawling back under the covers later
the same day, what’s the point of making your bed in the morning? Think of it as giving yourself a clean slate to start the day. By making your bed, you are putting to rest any lingering worries and stresses from yesterday and giving yourself a fresh start for today.
- Focus on your breathing. At the heart of mindfulness lies the idea of being present in the current moment, but often it can be difficult
to stop your mind from drifting to past mistakes or future uncertainty. A good way to really focus your attention is to direct your thoughts towards your breathing: feeling your chest expand with every deep inhale, feeling your steady heartbeat as you pause with your lungs filled to capacity, feeling the air rush over your lips as you slowly exhale. This is something you can do any time, but to start, try dedicating just one minute of your day to focus on your breathing. Here’s also a 10min guided meditation on awareness of breath.
- Get a house plant. With so much of our modern environment filled with technology – from our air-conditioned offices to our screen-filled
homes – it can be easy to lose touch with nature. A simple way to bring a bit of the natural world back into our lives is to get a house plant.
Aside from helping to purify the air in your home, a plant will also help you connect with nature for at least a minute or two each day as you water the plant, remove dead leaves or simply pause to marvel at life growing before your eyes.
- Take a daily walk. Most of us walk at some point during the day, but often this is a hurried walk to the bus stop in the morning or
a quick trip at lunchtime to fight the crowds on the way to our favourite hawker. For a more mindful experience, make time in your day for a quiet walk that is not rushed. A 15-minute walk after dinner – perhaps one loop of a neighbourhood park – will get you outside, allowing you to stretch your legs while giving your mind some fresh air and fresh perspectives.
- Set a cut-off time for checking your phone. Smartphones are amazing tools that put the world at our fingertips,
but unfortunately that world tends to include our problems and worries. For many of us, checking our phone late at night is a habit, but this can be harmful if the latest news headlines or work emails fill your mind with negative thoughts just before bed. To avoid this, try setting a firm time at which you put your phone away for the night. For example, if you typically go to sleep at 11pm, make 10pm your cut-off and trade your phone for a book.
Less stress, more focus
These five simple examples illustrate how even small adjustments in your daily routine can help you tap into the benefits of mindfulness. If you’re keen to learn more about mindfulness and how it can help you manage stress, check out the slate of mindfulness programs that we run in-person as well as virtually.