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Integrating Mindfulness into Daily Life

You may have heard about the benefits of mindfulness. It’s often praised (especially by us!) as a remedy for the stresses of modern life. Whether you’re dealing with stress and anxiety or you’re looking for a way to feel more connected and at peace, mindfulness teaches us how to become more present. With greater awareness, we often make better choices, work more efficiently, build stronger relationships, and remain calm through the ups and downs of daily life.

Bridging the gap between knowing about mindfulness and genuinely experiencing its effects everyday can transform your life, even when you don’t know where to start. Sometimes when you’re so busy and often running on empty, adding another item to an already long list of tasks is the last thing you want to do, but with the right steps, creating mindful moments doesn’t have to be a challenge.What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without getting tangled up in judgment or distraction. It’s about observing your experience (including your thoughts, feelings, and even surroundings) without trying to change them.

It sounds easy — and in theory it’s a simple practice — but it can be quite a challenge to avoid being swept into thought and rumination. The more you practice though, the easier it becomes, and the more natural it becomes to stay present in your daily life.

Examples of mindfulness exercises
Mindfulness takes practice, but it’s worth it. Developing awareness helps us catch ourselves when we’re distracted or caught up in thought, getting ahead of anxious or unhelpful rumination.

Mindfulness meditation
Consider carving out a spot in your schedule where you set aside quiet time to just be with yourself. Sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing or maybe a calming sound around you. It’s okay if your mind wanders. The goal isn’t to empty your thoughts but to notice when they drift and gently bring them back to your breath or sound.

Mindful breathing
This is something you can do anywhere, anytime. It’s as simple as it sounds. Whether you’re at work or home, take a moment to focus solely on your breathing without trying to change it. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air entering and leaving your nostrils.

Visualization
Think of a place that makes you happy. It could be a quiet beach, a peaceful forest, or even your cozy bedroom. Close your eyes and picture yourself there. Notice the details—the colors, sounds, and how it makes you feel. This visualization exercise can be a mini-vacation for your mind.

Mindful movement
Connect with your body to become in tune with yourself. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or even just stretching can be done with mindfulness. As you move, pay attention to how each part of your body feels. No need to try and replicate the perfect pose — just use this time to experience what it’s like to be fully present in your body.

Journaling
Writing can be a form of mindfulness, too. Grab a notebook and write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences from the day. It’s a way to check in with yourself and understand your emotions better.

Our Calm Feelings Journal and Feelings Wheel can help you get started on your journaling journey.5 ways to practice mindfulness in your daily life
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine might sound challenging, but it can be pretty straightforward. Here’s the thing, you don’t need to set aside hours of your day. Even just a few moments of mindfulness can make a big difference. Focusing on your breath or the sensations in your body can be a great anchor to the present moment. Grounding yourself this way can be especially helpful when you’re in a moment of high stress or anxiety.

1. Practice mindfulness by observing your thoughts
Practice being aware and accepting of your thoughts. When a thought pops up, instead of reacting, just notice it. Don’t judge it or try to push it away. Just observe and acknowledge it. The goal isn’t to achieve any particular feeling, thought, or state. It’s merely to observe what’s happening in the present moment. Observation helps you become more aware of your thought patterns over time and helps you to create distance between yourself and your thoughts.

Sometimes having an auditory assist can help boost your mindfulness practice. Try one of our soothing soundscapes like Jasper Lake.

2. Practice mindfulness by focusing intently on the task at hand
It’s common to perceive juggling several things at once as a talent. We have this idea that the more we take on, the more productive we are. But in truth, multitasking isn’t healthy or effective. Single-tasking leaves us more focused, more effective, and efficient.

For example, give your full attention to the experience of eating during meals. Feel the texture, taste the flavors, and smell the aroma of your food. If your mind drifts, gently guide it back to the meal in front of you. This practice of mindful eating can transform an everyday task into a moment of joy.

Get started on your mindfulness journey with Jeff Warren’s 30-day practice, Mindfulness for Beginners.

3. Practice mindfulness by breathing deeply
Whenever you find a moment, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Focus on the sensation of the air entering and leaving your lungs. Notice with curiosity whether the inward and outward breaths are cool or warm as they enter and depart through your nose and mouth. This deep breathing exercise can help you feel grounded, especially during stressful times.

Our Breathe Bubble is a great tool to help you pay more mindful attention to the breath.

4. Practice mindfulness with a mindful walk or mindful movement
See if you can take 10 or 15 minutes to practice going on a mindful walk. Whether it’s cold or warm, wet or dry, take a bit of time and pay attention to the world around you.

Observe the colors in the sky. Feel the air on your skin. Close your eyes and tune into the sounds around you. Whether it’s the rustling of leaves, the chirping of birds, or the gentle flow of water, let nature’s sounds soothe your mind. If you live in a city, listen to the hum of traffic instead. It’s all a reminder that life is around you.

Looking to incorporate Mindful Movement into your day? Mel Mah and the Daily Move have your back. You can also explore Mindful Walking.

5. Practice mindfulness by staying in the present
Purposefully paying attention is what mindfulness is all about. You may notice throughout the day that your mind wanders off into distractions or thoughts of the past or future. This is what the mind does – it gets distracted – so let go of any judgment. Simply steer your thoughts gently back to the here and now. How to make mindfulness a habit
Building a habit, especially one as transformative as mindfulness, can be a very rewarding journey. And the key is consistency. But how do you make mindfulness a regular part of your day without feeling overwhelmed? Here are some straightforward steps to help you make mindfulness a daily habit.

Set clear intentions: Ask yourself why you want to embrace mindfulness. Are you looking to reduce stress, improve focus, or just be more present in your daily life? Write down your reasons. Knowing your ‘why’ will keep you motivated.

Start small: Don’t try to meditate for an hour on day one. Begin with just a few minutes of mindfulness exercises each day. As you become more comfortable, you can extend the duration.

Choose a consistent schedule: Choose a specific time of day for your mindfulness practice. It could be right after waking up, during your lunch break, or before bed. By sticking to a routine, you’ll find it becomes a natural part of your day.

Remind yourself: In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget. Place sticky notes around your workspace, set alarms on your phone, or set a mindfulness reminder in the Calm app. These little nudges can make a big difference.

Celebrate the small wins: Every time you successfully incorporate mindfulness into your day, acknowledge it. Did you feel more relaxed after a breathing exercise? Did you enjoy your meal more with mindful eating? Recognize these moments. Celebrating your progress can boost your motivation and encourage you to continue.

Stay accountable: Share your mindfulness journey with a friend or family member. Discussing your experiences and challenges can provide additional insights and encouragement. Plus, having someone to share your progress with can make the journey even more fulfilling.

Be patient with yourself: Remember, it’s okay if you miss a day or if your mind keeps wandering during your practice. Mindfulness is a journey, not a destination. Be kind to yourself, and know that every moment of mindfulness counts.Calm your mind. Change your life.
Mental health is hard. Getting support doesn’t have to be. The Calm app puts the tools to feel better in your back pocket, with personalized content to manage stress and anxiety, get better sleep, and feel more present in your life.

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