Mindfulness is something that I routinely practice. It helps me to reduce stress, live in the present, and maintain a healthy and positive mindset.
I know what you may be thinking! Wait a minute… what does mindfulness even mean?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mindfulness as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”.
Today I’m sharing 5 habits that I use to incorporate mindfulness into my everyday life. These habits have really helped to create positive change in my life, which is why I want to share them with you!
Two of my favorite YouTubers, Mimi and Alex Ikonn, created a product called the Five Minute Journal and are a huge inspiration for this blog post. Every morning, I write down 3 things I am thankful for, 3 things that would make my day great, and a daily affirmation. I use the Five Minute Journal to do this, which I would highly recommend because it makes it so convenient and fun (I will link all of the products and people I mention at the end of the post). However, it would also be easy to do it in a blank journal or even in your head. Starting the day in this way gets my mind into the habit of being grateful, which has had a really positive effect on my life. It has helped me to transition to a perspective that promotes wellness and general happiness.
I also use this journal in the evenings, when I write down 3 great things that happened that day as well as anything that I could have done to make the day even better. It’s a wonderful way to reflect on the day. Sometimes I forget what I’ve actually accomplished if the day has had a stressful ending, but when I look back and see what I have done, I am often pleasantly surprised.
Meditation is so important to me. I try to do it in the mornings, and want to start mediating before bed as well. No matter how I am feeling, spending time in the present and becoming aware of my surroundings and my thoughts through breathing just feels good. I’ve found that the days when I feel like meditating the least are the days when I need to do it the most. It can really put things into perspective and provide a great way to cope with stress in everyday life.Meditation makes me feel relaxed, refreshed, and ready to take on the day.
I love to use an app called Headspace, which provides guided 10-minute long meditation sessions. There are 10 free ones, which I just use over and over, but there is also the option to purchase various different types of meditation sessions on the app. I know a lot of people who think they don’t have the time to meditate, or say it’s “just not my thing”. I say give it a try… it can’t hurt to breathe and live in the present, and if you don’t like it, no one is going to force you to keep doing it! That being said, I have a feeling many people would be pleasantly surprised if they gave it a go at least once.
It seems like the days I feel laziest are the ones that I need exercise the most! Then I like to think of Newton’s First Law of Motion, also known as the Law of Inertia. This law states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. Reminding myself of this usually motivates me to get moving. After a workout I always feel a lot better about myself and more productive in general. In the summer, I find it much easier to incorporate exercise into my life as I love outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kyaking, and surfing. It’s a bit more challenging in the colder weather. My favorite ways to get moving during this time of the year are through yoga (Yoga with Adriene, on YouTube, has awesome guided yoga videos that you can do in the comfort of your home), a workout (I use the Quick Fit 7 Minute Workout app, various YouTube fitness channels such as the FitnessBlender, and sometimes make up my own workout), or a walk in nature. Sometimes we even go rock climbing, which is a habit I want to get into even more. I try to do at least two sessions of exercise per day- either yoga or a workout and a walk outdoors to get fresh air.
4. Mindful Consumption
This habit applies to so many areas of life. I think the best way to start with mindful consumption is with food. It can be easier than most people think. I simply try to put my phone down, close my laptop screen, or turn off the T.V. while eating meals. I pay attention to what I am eating. I think about where my food came from, who took part in it’s creation, and how it got to be on my table. I smell it. I look at it. I appreciate it. This can also be good for your digestion because when our bodies smell or see food, they produce more digestive saliva.
There is a whole group of people who study “food energy”. To improve the energy of my food, sometimes I even hold my hands over my food, close my eyes, and thank my food out loud. It may seem silly, but food is so incredibly important. What we eat doesn’t just provide nutrition for our bodies (an immense job as it is), but effects the environment, economy, and lives of so many people that we may never see in person, but that are connected to us through our meals. What kind of story do our meals tell? The craziest thing is, we can choose our story by choosing our food. I make organic, free-range, non-GMO, vegan or vegetarian, gluten-free choices whenever possible because I want my impact on myself, others, and the environment to be positive.
I’ve got a lot to say on this topic because it is so vast, but I think food is a great place to start with mindful consumption. I also try to apply mindfulness to my consumption of skincare or beauty products, clothing, and everything else I consume by thinking and researching about whether or not it came from an ethical and healthy place.
I know I mentioned the Five Minute Journal above, but I also like to journal in other ways. I consider making lists part of this process. Sometimes I journal about how I am feeling, other times I write about my goals, my dreams, or things I love. Or I make lists of what I need to do. Whatever I write about, it just feels good to get my thoughts down on paper. I have found the Productivity Planner to be useful for this, as it is an organized place to write down my goals for the day. However, I also keep a separate journal that I purchased from Paper Source that has more space for freestyle journaling, doodling, or lists. It has blank pages on the inside and says “do something creative every day” on the cover, which serves as an inspiring reminder for me. For instance, in my journal I have written a letter to myself in 3 years time, outlining everything I want in terms of my career, personal life, and physical and emotional health. I sometimes write daily journals about how I am feeling, what I would like to accomplish in the short or long term. Even blogging is a version of journaling for me. I try to journal every day in some form. It’s a great creative outlet and a healthy way to set intentions, work through emotions, and get inspired.
The Five Minute Journal (I purchased mine at a local Paper Source)
Headspace (I use the app on my phone)
Quick Fit 7 Minute Workout (I use the app on my phone)
The Productivity Planner (this was a gift, I think the giver purchased it on Amazon)
My Paper Source Journal