As the title of my blog suggests, I am all about ‘Making it Mindful’, but I sometimes find myself asking how can I actually bring mindfulness into my day to day life? To me, being mindful is all about trying to be present and in the moment. I have a tendency to worry, and can find it quite exhausting at times thinking through all the ‘what ifs’ of a situation. Some days I will have been so preoccupied that I will be lying in bed wondering where my day went. We all know that there are 24 hours in every day, and I would really like to spend more of them enjoying what is going on in front of me rather than in my mind worrying about things that normally don’t come true.
So, in an effort to be more present I have put together a list of things that I’m doing to try and make every day a little more mindful.
- Look up on my walk to work – too often I will spend my 3o minute walk to work either staring at the ground deep in thought or worse, staring at my phone. So I am trying to make an effort to appreciate the amazing city that I am lucky to live in as much as I can. If you’ve ever been to Manchester, you’ll know just how much amazing architecture there is to take in – not to mention all the interesting people that I pass along the way.
- Turn 4G off my phone – Admittedly I was forced into this one due to nearly running out of data after a ‘Good Wife’ binge on my Netflix app. So in order not to get charged silly money for extra data, I turned my 4G off to make sure I only connected to the internet when I was on Wifi. I actually can’t tell you what a difference this has made! No more frantically checking my phone as soon as it makes a noise = lots of free time to think and properly focus on the present without getting distracted. I genuinely recommend it!
- Create mindfulness reminders – This is something I’ve heard about through my beloved Calm app and I’ve decided to give it a go. Reminders can be used as a way to bring you back into the present moment when your thoughts may have wandered. So they might include seeing a plane in the sky, seeing a red traffic light, seeing a post box…anything that you regularly see where you can stop for a second and focus on the here and now. The thing that works for me at the moment is focusing on the present whenever I am washing my hands or brushing my teeth. This might sound silly, but only concentrating on how it feels to do these things for those few seconds brings a little welcome relief to my otherwise continuous thoughts.
- Exercise – I probably don’t need to tell you about the benefits of exercise for body and mind, but I have really been trying to use exercise as a way to be mindful. To do this, I simply put on my favourite up tempo music (usually Britney, sometimes RuPaul ‘Sissy that Walk’) and only focus on working out to the beat. This is surprisingly therapeutic and I swear by focusing on moving to the music that going nuts on the cross trainer hurts less! At the end of my workout, I definitely feel calmer and more focused.
- Plan more mindfulness into my day – Browsing through Twitter I came across something called ‘The Happiness Planner‘, a diary that helps you to focus on the good things about your day, such as things you are grateful for or what you have achieved. I’ve ordered the 100 days of Happiness planner to get me started (in pink of course!), but can see myself investing in the yearly diary if all goes well!
I hope you might find some of these suggestions useful, and I would love to hear if you find any of them helpful or if you have any tips and tricks for me on Making it Mindful! Please follow, comment or tweet me @makingitmindful.
Got the calm app because of your blog! Enjoying it. I found being mindful easiest at the buddhist retreat I went to, you should go sometime, it’s free!
Read a strange guardian article this morning called ‘is mindfulness making us ill’… Very different standpoint. There’s a TED talk on consciousness by Dada Gunamuktananda that I’ve repeatedly listened to over the last few weeks, you might enjoy it, there’s even a sneaky little meditation in at the end! xx
Ahh would love to go to a retreat! And glad you are enjoying calm! I’ve read that article too, found it slightly infuriating. Seemed to me that mindfulness may not be suitable for some with underlying psychological issues. There’s no denying that it can be hard to sit alone with your thoughts sometimes, but definitely harder if you already have something like PTSD! Will definitely check out that TED talk! Thanks darl x
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Yeah, that’s what I got: “I was furious when the things I’d spent my lifetime repressing and ignoring finally came to the surface when I actually thought for a minute!” I also thought the article was dismissive of mental health in generally, acting as though without diagnosed illness, we don’t all have a ‘mental health’ to take care of.
I can send you deets of the working retreat I did so it was all free. Plenty of time to write in the evenings too… Great for PhD write up! x
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Totally agree, came across as though living in denial or repressing thoughts is equal to having “good” mental health! Oh my word that is a fabulous idea!!! I went to a writing workshop yesterday it’s all about getting the writing done now! x
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