5 tips for everyday mindfulness

It's easy to be in the moment when you're somewhere beautiful, hundreds of miles away from home. But what about in everyday life?

The thing is, meditation isn't the be all and end all of mindfulness. Yes, it’s incredibly important ‘practice’ for living more in the moment (read why here!). But there's so many other ways to embrace mindfulness in everyday life. Here's 5 of my favourite ways - all helping me in my challenge to be more ‘in the moment’:

1. Find one task and make it mindful. It can be anything - the washing up, brushing your teeth, making the bed… just one small, everyday task which you can dedicate to doing mindfully. Pay attention to what you're doing and only that, taking in each and every detail that makes up the task. And each time a distracting thought pops up, gently let it drift away and come back to the task in hand.

2. Have a mindful mantra, something like “this moment is all there is” or “let it be” and remind yourself of it throughout the day. My mantra at the moment is “pole-pole” - Swahili for ‘slowly’ or ‘take it slowly’. My boyfriend and I always return from a holiday with some sort of bizarre catch phrase, but for once, this one from Tanzania seems perfectly apt!

3.Take a tech break. We don't need to be occupied all the time, yet even just walking to the shop down the road - a 5 minute walk - my default is to reach into my pocket and check what's going on in the digital world. Having a tech break gives you a chance to be present in what's actually going on around you.

4.Label thoughts and feelings for what they are - just thoughts and feelings. It's our natural instinct to respond to emotions - fear, anger, disgust... they all kept us fit and safe 12,000 years ago. But everyday safety is rarely reliant on our emotions anymore. So labelling them (like saying to yourself “I'm having the thought that…” or “I'm having the emotion of…”) creates a bit of distance between what you're thinking, and the reality. Want to know more? Watch this inspiring talk by psychologist Susan David all about emotional agility.

5.Activate your senses. Whatever you're up to, try activating your senses, pull yourself out of automatic and bring into focus the sight, sound, smell, feel and taste you're experiencing. Use your senses to anchor yourself to the moment.

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