10 Simple Ways to Become More Mindful
If you think back over the year so far, you might find it tricky to outline exactly how you’ve spent your time throughout the previous months. So many of us run on autopilot everyday, without a clear focus as to why we do what we do and what we’re working towards.
This is completely normal, and something we all get caught up in. Working full time, keeping on top of a home and family, and trying to maintain a social life means that many of us just muddle through, hardly even finding a moment to pause and reflect.
Without recognising this, this can result in years passing by with little awareness or focus. Once you start becoming more mindful, this all starts to change. Being mindful takes a lot of practice and determination, but there are a few ways in which you can start to make small changes in your life, to bring your focus back.
Here are 10 simple ways to become more mindful, that you can start to put into practice…
Spend time outside every week
It’s so easy to become disconnected to nature and the world that we live in. Reconnecting to nature will help keep you grounded and able to see the bigger picture. Plan to spend time outside at least once a week. This could be a run through your local park, taking a hike or reading a book in a quiet open space.
Try to plan for one hour a week reconnecting to nature, and every once in a while book in a weekend trip to the countryside. Switch your phone to aeroplane mode to avoid distractions, and take some time to clear your mind and appreciate your surroundings.
Acknowledge what time frame your mind is in
It’s really easy to slip into focusing on the past or the future instead of the present. When you focus on the past, you often dwell on things and focus on perceived failures which can lead to a feeling of resentment. When you focus on the future, you don’t pause to acknowledge and appreciate what you have achieved and what you have.
Once a day, stop and take a moment to consider what time frame your mind is in. While our minds can freely wander, and some of our best ideas and thoughts may come to us when letting our minds roam, if you find yourself in the past or future, gently bring your mind back to the present.
Limit time on your phone in the evenings
We are all aware that spending time on our phones late at night isn’t ideal. The blue light that your phone emits makes you feel wide awake, which can lead to poor quality of sleep. In addition, many of us are constantly doing two things at once - having a conversation while also on our phones, or watching a film while on Instagram.
This means that we are never focused on one task at a time. Splitting your mind between two tasks, and doing neither whole heartedly can lead to boredom and frustration at the fact we are doing two things, and we’re still not entertained. The simple fix is to avoid being distracted by your phone, bring focus back to your mind and focus on what you are doing and only that.
Try putting a cut off time in place. At this time you should put your phone into sleep mode and put it in another room, or at least far enough away that you can’t reach it. Try doing this from at least an hour before you go to sleep, or if possible, from 7pm onwards.
A great way to bring a sense of calm and focus to the mind is through aromatherapy. Scent is a powerful sense, and can dramatically influence your mood. Fragrances such as lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot and sandalwood can all have a calming effect.
If you want to create a sense of calm as soon as you walk in the door after a long day, try a diffuser to release a subtle fragrance throughout the day. Candles are also great and will provide a stronger fragrance. Try putting time aside once a week to sit quietly with your eyes closed burning a candle with a calming fragrance, or take a bath and light your favourite candle to allow yourself time to clear your mind.
Keep a short journal
While many of us were brilliant at keeping a diary as teenagers, for some of us the idea of keeping a track record of all of our thoughts, actions and feelings might be a little uncomfortable. It’s important to open up to yourself though, to better understand your own feelings and actions.
Where possible, try keeping a very short journal that you add to morning and evening. This doesn’t mean having to write down everything that happened during the day, instead in the morning write down a focus for the day, and in the evening write down any feelings or leading thoughts that you experienced during the day. After a while, you might be able to outline a pattern, which will help you overcome any negatives in your life.
Practice yoga or meditation
Moving your body in a mindful way on a regular basis is a great way to reconnect with both your mind and body. Yoga focuses on mindful and meaningful movements to help restore that connection, and can easily be practiced at home. You just need a mat and to find 20 minutes to yourself. Practicing at home can make fitting in yoga easier - there are loads of great sequences on YouTube that you can follow.
Meditation is also a fantastic way of bringing clarity to your mind and learning to better control your thoughts and feelings. Meditation apps provide a great way to get started with meditation at home.
Fuel your body
What we put in our bodies makes a huge difference to how we feel day to day. Sugar and processed foods will make us feel sluggish and tired, while nutrient dense whole foods will help keep energy levels up.
When you are very busy, it can be all to easy to reach for processed convenience foods, but this won’t provide the energy that you need to get through the day. Become more mindful about what you eat and consider every decision you make when it comes to food. If you find yourself choosing to grab a chocolate bar or bag or crisps, pause and consider whether this is what your body really needs, or whether you could make a better decision.
Question the assumptions you make
We make a lot of snap judgements, this is completely normal and it’s in our nature to assess situations and people quickly. You might find yourself making negative assumptions from time to time - it’s easy to get into a negative state of mind without even realising it. Try to become more aware of the judgements you make and take the time to question them, and question how you came to make that assumption and if it’s really justified. When you do this, you can limit negative assumptions and will start to look at the world and the people in it in a more positive light.
Share you positive thoughts
In a way this might sound selfish, but sharing the nice things you do think and feel about others will give you a boost as well as them. For many of us, we think and feel lovely things about others, but don’t often share these. Next time you think something nice about someone else, say it to them, and make a point to continue like this.
Introduce greenery to your home
As mentioned above, reconnecting with nature is essential to ensure you feel grounded. Another great way to help you feel better connected to nature is by introducing greenery to your home. House plants can bring a little bit of the outside world in, and are known to create a positive response when it comes to how we feel in our home.
If you are lucky enough to have your own outside space, tend to it. Adding to nature and growing our own plants, flowers, fruit and veg is very satisfying and will help you spend more time outdoors caring for your own little patch of nature.
Becoming more mindful requires conscious changes to how you live your life, but all of the above are simple changes which can be put into practice quite easily. Whether you choose to try all of the above, or just a few, you should start to feel a shift towards more mindful living and the benefits this brings.
What are your tips for becoming more mindful? Comment and share your experiences and advice...