Learning Mindfulness and Being Present in Your Life

Learning Mindfulness and Being Present in Your Life

Mindfulness: Being Present in Your LIfe
Updated 6/17/2020

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to move from one activity to the next. By the time you get to the end of the day, you may not be able to remember minor details like what you had for lunch or what color shirt your spouse was wearing.

These details often slip away from you because you’re not mindful about how you’re spending your time or who you’re with. The problem is that without these connections, you can easily become depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed.
But when you take time to practice mindfulness, you’ll feel better mentally and emotionally. You’ll enjoy your days more and pause to savor precious little moments like walking your child to the bus stop or giving back to a stranger. 

​If you’re ready to lean into mindfulness, here are some simple ways that you can become present in your own life…

Lean Into Mindfulness

Dial into Your Sense of Smell 
Regardless of where you are right now, take a moment to pause. Pay attention to what your sense of smell is telling you. Do you smell a co-worker’s spaghetti lunch? A client’s familiar perfume? Your new baby’s clean onesie?

Try Morning Pages
Another way to become more mindful is to write a "morning page" each day. Your morning pages can be filled with all of your dreams, failures, hopes, and fears. By stopping to listen to your inner voice, you’ll be more mindful of your own thoughts and feelings.

Observe Patterns
Look around the room and pay attention to patterns you see repeating. Can you find five red items? Maybe you can spot other things like three potted plants or seven overdue library books. When you take a moment to observe the objects around you, you’re training your brain to slow down and take in information about your environment.

Take a Shower 
Instead of losing yourself in your thoughts, take time to experience the shower. Sniff the shampoo, feel the soap glide between your hands, and appreciate the fuzzy towel you’re drying your body with.

Cuddle with Your Pet
When you come home from a long day, take some time to cuddle with your pet on the couch. Pay attention to the texture of your pet’s fur, scales, or claws. Give your fur baby a massage and watch how she or he reacts.

Walk around Your Neighborhood
If you want to shake up your routine and start practicing mindfulness, a good way to do this is to walk down your street. Challenge yourself to look at everything as if you’re seeing it for the very first time.

Focus on Sounds
The gift of hearing is easily ignored most of the time. But this sense is a wonderful way to focus on the present. Take a moment and think about what you can hear going on around you. Are there children laughing? Is your pet purring? Are you listening to music? Is your spouse tapping the keys on his laptop? 

Treat Yourself
Think about your favorite meal and get it for yourself. Pay attention to the sounds and textures of your food. Is your pickle crunchy? Is the bread from your panini soft and chewy?  Embracing your five senses helps you enjoy your meal more. You’ll also eat slowly and feel more relaxed when you’re done.

Purchase Jewelry
If you enjoy wearing jewelry, find something that reminds you to be mindful and wear it daily. This could be a necklace with the word “breathe” on it or a ring that says “i'm enough”. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s personally meaningful to you.

Read a Book
It can be a best-seller, a recommendation from a friend, or simply an old favorite that you’ve been meaning to pick up again. Find a comfortable spot and spend a few minutes enjoying the book. Pay attention to how the pages feel against your fingers and how the binding of the book smells.

Find a comfortable spot and spend a few minutes enjoying the book. Pay attention to how the pages feel against your fingers and how the binding of the book smells.
Read a Book

Brush Your Teeth
When you brush your teeth, you rarely stop to think about what you’re doing. The movements are automatic for most people. But take a moment to slow down. Feel the bristles against your teeth and remind yourself to taste your toothpaste. Notice the way your fingers curve around the handle of your toothbrush and give thanks to the universe that you’re able to move your hands.

One of the easiest ways to dial into the present is to stop what you’re doing and meditate for two minutes. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just get comfortable and set a time on your phone. Then let your thoughts come. Observe them without fear or judgement. When the time goes off, you can return to your normal routine.

Give Yourself a Massage
As you touch your skin, close your eyes. Concentrate on the texture and feel of your body. Do you feel your muscles and ligaments or your bones and joints? What happens you adjust the pressure of your hands and slow down your massage? How about if you speed it up instead?

Open an Essential Oil
If you have essential oils, they can be a great way to make you more mindful. Choose an essential oil that you find relaxing and use a diffuser to circulate the smell throughout the room. Three relaxing essential oils include: lavender, chamomile, and jasmine.

Get Flowers
If you see a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the store or on the side of the road, stop and get them. Put them at your desk or on the table, somewhere you can see your beauty and appreciate them every day.

Repeat an Affirmation
If you struggle to be mindful during the day, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to repeat an affirmation. You might want to say something like: “I’m learning to become more mindful” or “I choose to be fully present in the moment”. If you repeat these affirmations often enough, they will begin to manifest in your life.

Listen to Nature
Natural sounds like the ocean waves crashing or rain drops falling can be soothing and help you focus on the present. But don’t feel like you have to book a weekend at the seaside to be more relaxed. Look on YouTube for nature sounds and play them whenever you need a reminder to be present.

Savor Going to Bed
When you lie down to go to sleep, take a few moments to enjoy being in your bed. Tune into your body and notice how the sheets feel against your skin, how warm the blankets are, and the softness of your pillow.

Cloud Watch
Another simple way to become more mindful is to spend time watching the clouds next time you’re outside. What shapes do you see? Did you spend time watching the clouds as a kid? Have you ever gone cloud watching with someone else?

Try Coloring
Grab a coloring book and a box of your favorite art supplies like crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Pay attention to the feel of the paper. Embrace the slide of your hand across the page. Notice the smell of your coloring tools as you work.

Grab a coloring book and a box of your favorite art supplies like crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Pay attention to the feel of the paper. Embrace the slide of your hand across the page. Notice the smell of your coloring tools as you work.
Try Coloring

Practice Stretches
Stretching exercises are a great way to tune into your body. Are your shoulders or neck feeling stiff? Work out the kinks by slowly rolling your head from side to side. Close your eyes as you do this and feel your muscles relaxing.

Lie in the Moment
Instead of getting out of bed as soon as you wake up or reaching for your phone first thing, just lie there for a moment. Don’t mentally make a to-do list or start worrying about things you can’t control. Instead, focus on the beauty and gift of the present.

Make it a goal to smile at every single person you see today. Whether that’s the co-workers you pass in the halls or the cashier at your local grocery store. When you take the time to make contact and smile, you’re reminding yourself to be fully in the moment.

Light a Candle
If you’re having difficulty letting go of worry and anxiety, try lighting a candle. Focus on the flame every time you feel your fears start up again. Keep doing this until you feel calm and peaceful again.

Download an App
Sometimes, staying mindful is hard and you may need reminders sometimes. Download an app to your phone or smart device that can prompt you to stay present. A couple of good apps for this are Calm and The Mindfulness App

Take Time to Cook
It’s easy to grab food from your favorite restaurant or take out eatery. But cooking is a great way to stay mindful. Focus on experimenting with different spices, herbs, or textures to create new and fun dishes.

Listen to a Podcast
Just as there are mindfulness apps that can be helpful, there are also podcasts dedicated to the topic, too. Look for The Mindful Podcast, Untangle, and The Tapping Solution.

Walk Barefoot
Kick off your shoes and pay attention to the textures under your feet. Observe how different concrete feels from asphalt, grass, sand, and other textures. Wiggle your toes and notice how the muscles in your feet stretch. 

Choose a Visual Reminder
Get a decoration that encourages you to be mindful and place it where you’ll see it every day. This could be a special candle, a music box, a stuffed animal, or any other item you can think of. If it helps you to take a moment to be present, then it’s a good choice.

Enjoy the Sunrise
Get up early one morning while it’s still dark outside. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and watch as the sun comes up for the day. Study the different colors and how they meld together as the day begins. Dial into your other senses and see how the air smells different before sunrise and how quiet the world seems.

Get up early one morning while it’s still dark outside. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and watch as the sun comes up for the day.
Enjoy the Sunrise

Take Your Pulse
A great way to ground yourself in the present is to put your fingers over your pulse. Feel the blood thrumming through your veins, energizing you. Imagine not just blood but love being pumped throughout your body.

Break the Breakfast Routine
If you always have the same cereal or bagel for breakfast, try something new. Sometimes, it’s easy not to be mindful simply because we make the same choices day after day. So, if you want to be more aware and present, change up your routines--starting with breakfast.

Do a Chore Slowly
Pick a chore to do and feel your body as you move. Whether you choose to mop, take out the garbage or clean out the refrigerator, pay attention to what you’re doing. Make it a goal to stay fully focused in the moment. 

Soothe Your Skin
Choose a lotion you enjoy and rub it on in a slow, circular motion. Focus your attention on how the lotion feels and how it hydrates your skin. To boost your mindfulness even more, pick a lotion with a strong scent that you enjoy.

Take a Swim
Next time you’re at the beach or in a pool, close your eyes and let yourself float. Focus on how your body feels in the water. How’s the temperature of the water? Is it warm or cold? How does the water smell? Can you feel the water between your toes or fingers when you wiggle them?

Try Painting
Painting can be a terrific way to become more present. You can focus on artistic painting by selecting a canvas or a watercolor picture. But if you don’t enjoy painting artistically, then you could paint something around your house like your porch, your shutters, or a room you’ve been meaning to update.

Deny Yourself
Instant gratification can keep you from being mindful about what you’re eating or drinking. The next you want something like a candy bar or a cup of coffee, choose to wait for twenty minutes instead. When the time is up, you’ll enjoy your treat even more.

Play a Physical Game
Games can be a great way to stay in the present. Physical games like Twister, Scavenger Hunt, or Flashlight Tag are fun, encourages you to connect with friends or loved ones, and keeps you focused on the here and now.

Becoming more mindful is a process. You may find it difficult at first but don’t give up. I challenge you to keep looking for ways to be present right where you are. It All Starts With You!

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